Getting ahead is a perpetual challenge faced by everyone on a daily basis, particularly if you are a corporate lemming in a large organisation. However, promoting yourself with the people that matter is like walking a fine line, and if you don’t tread carefully you can quickly find yourself branded a narcissist for life.
Most people take two extreme positions when it comes to self promotion at the workplace; they either parrot their achievements ad-nauseam or simply go through life in a tight-lipped picture of modesty. Both approaches do not work in the long run.
So how does one walk that elusive middle ground? Here are some practical tips:
- Focus on results. Its time consuming but nothing beats getting a reputation for being a person who gets things done. Remember people ultimately do not hire people, they hire solutions to their problems. All your previous achievements and skill-sets are simply tools to get things done. So go ahead and create a track record of doing so.
- Praise others. When speaking of your achievements, speak about how your colleagues and teams made the goal achievable. One rarely does things alone, so taking people along creates a positive impression and brings in others who appreciate your contribution and will sing your praises.
- Integrity is paramount. Ensure you never take what is yours. Stand up for the merits of your viewpoints and always be a source of good advice and support. With a reputation based on this, there is no way you will go wrong.
- Network with tact. Visibility is everything. Create a circle of influence with your colleagues and superiors. Seek advice, use opportunities to learn and be ready to lend a helping hand. Use new technology to network, but do all of this without invading another person’s personal space.
— Tariq Ziad Khan
First published in the Careers Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on October 31, 2012.