‘Stars’ are visible without the aid of a telescope

I was catching up on some casual reading over the weekend and I noticed that the same people seemed to appear on the pages of every magazine I flipped through. It occurred to me that many of these celebrities weren’t any more talented than their peers—they just seemed to have the right publicist.

 

It can be like that at work, too. Often, the same people seem to be on all the major task forces and committees. Their peers wonder why these colleagues seem to get all the choice projects, while they toil in the same roles year after year. Are these stars more competent—or do they do a better job of managing their own publicity?

 

Now, don’t roll your eyes and sniff, “I’m not going to be one of those publicity hounds!” Never fear, that’s not what I’m suggesting. What I am advocating is that you take some practical steps toward managing your own reputation. You need to make some key people aware of your starring roles and winning performances.

 

·        Billboard your accomplishments.

 

It’s not enough to do a good job and hope for the best. Who knows about it? Even Michael Douglas shows up on the late night TV circuit when he has a movie to promote. Even if your boss is actively promoting your accomplishments (which is rare indeed), it’s not enough. You have to take responsibility for managing your own positive press.

 

For example, when you are working on a project, don’t be shy about asking a few influential people for input. It’s a great way to network and it gives you the opportunity to show them what you can do.

 

When you produce a report, or get results on a topic that may be of interest to others in the organization, find a way to get it in front of them. It may be a simple e-mail attachment with a note, “Thought you might be interested…” (Before you say, “Duh!” you’d be surprised how few people actually take the opportunity to do this.)

 

·        Act like you’re on the casting couch, even when you’re not.

 

Chances are, you talk about your accomplishments when you are job hunting, more than any other time. Most people just don’t feel comfortable talking about their successes at work. We were taught by our well-intentioned mothers not to brag about ourselves. This is counterproductive in the career department, however.

 

One way to showcase your work, without sounding boastful, is to simply tell a short mini-story about an interesting project that you are working on. Share how you are approaching it and why you feel so enthusiastic about it. Rather than turning off your listener, it will stimulate more conversation and leave the person impressed with your enthusiasm and talent for your work.

 

Instead of seeking out people you know at conventions and monthly professional dinners, make it a point to introduce yourself to at least one new person. Ask them about their work and take the opportunity to share a mini-story of your own. So often at a conference, we never get beyond name, title and company name. A lively discussion will deepen the relationship and cause them to remember you.

 

·        All the world’s a stage.

 

Sign up for the picnic committee and volunteer to sit at the registration desk. Offer to make a presentation to your department about your team’s new project. Put your hand in the air as the person who will take on extra duties—whether it’s stapling packets or working until 7 p.m. to get a project done. Get yourself on the stage and you will have a greater chance to being “discovered” as the next great star.


Joan Lloyd is a Milwaukee based executive coach and organizational & leadership development strategist. She is known for her ability to help leaders and their teams achieve measurable, lasting improvements. Joan Lloyd & Associates, specializes in leadership development, organizational change and teambuilding, providing: executive coaching, CEO coaching & leader team coaching, 360-degree feedback processes, retreat facilitation and presentation skill coaching and small group labs. Contact Joan Lloyd & Associates at (414) 573-1616, mailto:info@joanlloyd.com, or www.JoanLloyd.com 
 
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