“How should I ensure that my work and my contributions get visibility within the company? What new skills do I need to move ahead?”
That is among the most used introduction question used in LinkedIn Career Advice, and I think it’s a very legit one: moving ahead has a lot to do with the visibility of your progress.
As an example, when I first joined Traveloka as a Design Lead, I was glad to meet my new team of 20 designers, which is a huge leap from the 2-5 team members I usually lead. I often read that prominent design leaders manage the team even bigger than this, therefore I think I’m on the right track.
What quickly happened though, is the realization that it’s hard to effectively track everyone’s progress.
Despite doing checkups, 1 on 1, and casual daily interactions, it seems there’s always someone that’s eluding attention by being less approachable, avoiding conversations, and stay silent in meetings, perhaps, believing that the less they share, the better it shows that everything is under control.
On the other hand, there are also a few that often popped up and pose conversation like “I need your opinion on this issue”, “Are you available for quick brainstorming?”, or even “I have problem with this stakeholder”.
Who do you think would leave a more memorable impression?
Those that speak up usually get the attention they deserve, why? Because despite their achievements, by speaking up they got to deliver their story, and research has shown that what changes people’s perception is a story, not data.
Do you know what kind of stories is most memorable? Those that provoke the sense of catharsis in its audience, by connecting on the emotional level.
Therefore, to get your contributions visible, there’s no other way than to connect those to your stakeholders’ emotions. Even better, get them as part of the story, and they will be there to defend you when it’s needed, like in the performance review season.
However, storytelling alone won’t cut it. There needs to be real progress within the story. You can only get so far with a mediocre story. Your story needs to tell about a significant contribution.
Therefore, for those still struggling with creating contributions, then ask your leader or coach on where you can create the most impact, as they can help to give you information on what is expected from your role, and how you can better fulfill those expectations. If there’s still a gap in the skills needed, your leader should also be able to assist you in creating an improvement plan.
For leaders, it’s crucial to have a system, and delegation of roles to effectively scale up your influence, therefore creating scalability (and sustainability) in your leadership.