10 Ways To STAND OUT At Work!

 By Dr. Christi Hegstad 

Are you “one of the crowd” at work? If so, you likely won’t see your role (or your paycheck, for that matter) elevating anytime soon. Extraordinary leaders know that to experience success, fulfillment, and purpose they often need to pave a new path and, at times, be BOLD. Here are 10 strategies to help you stand out at work – and become an OUTSTANDING leader in the process. 

1. Take initiative. The “waiting around” success strategy rarely works, especially in this fast-acting age in which we live. Take the initiative on projects that excite you or revolve around your passions and strengths. For example, a client of mine who loved to read started a lunchtime book club at her corporation, which helped develop a number of leaders and caught the attention of her departmental director. Another client wanted her organization to be more involved in community outreach, so she created a proposal to support employee volunteer days. Your steps don’t always have to be huge, but you do need to take them. 

2. Develop a leader mindset. Regardless of your title, assume a leadership role. This means, among other things, taking responsibility for your actions, holding yourself and others accountable, and playing full-out. Consider the story of the person upset by a wrongdoing and saying, “Somebody should do something! Wait a minute, *I’M* somebody!” Lead from the heart, supported by your leader mindset.  

3. Strengthen your relationships. No one need go it alone. Surround yourself with positive people and connect with them frequently. Reach out to help others, ask for support, collaborate when possible. You can stand out at work by helping others stand out! Truly, together we are better.

4. Clear your clutter. Like it or not, your image and environment speak volumes about you. Whether your desk is covered in files, your overbooked schedule repeatedly causes you to arrive late, or your worries and to-do’s fill up precious mental space, now is the time to clear away the excess and streamline your way to success.

5. Know your worth and own it. A mistake I see all too often: undervaluing ourselves. You have a set of skills, strengths, and experiences that no one else has. It’s valuable – but YOU need to understand your value in order for others (employers, clients, co-workers) to follow suit. Update your resume, keep a Success Journal, track your accomplishments, and know that you are a person of great value – and deserve to be compensated for it.  

6. Speak up. For the next two weeks, pay close attention to yourself in meetings. How often do you voice your ideas? Share a different way of viewing a challenge? State a possible solution without starting your sentence, “This might not work, but…”? Don’t expect others to read your mind – even if they’ve known you for 20 years. Practice saying what you mean. (It’s liberating!) 

7. Seek a mentor. Where do you see yourself in 1, 5, or 10 years? Who is there now or has carved a path similar to the one you’d like to take? Invite him or her for coffee and propose a mentoring relationship. Connecting with someone on a regular (usually monthly) basis to ask questions, seek ideas, and learn from their experiences can shorten your learning curve exponentially.

8. Hire a coach. Your Success Team will ideally consist of several professionals, but the mentor and coach (two distinct roles) are crucial. While your mentor can speak from her experience and connect you within your field, your coach will provide an objective point of view, point out blocks that you don’t necessarily see, shine a light on patterns that may hold you back, and much more. My business skyrocketed when I hired my first coach and you’ll find most leaders, executives, and business owners experiencing that as well.

9. Make your difference. You’ll stand out when you do work you love and know that you’re making a difference. Don’t reserve your contributions only for off-work hours – instead, take strides to make it part of your workplace culture. Consider organizing a clothing drive, taking your team to serve breakfast at a local shelter once a month, hosting a cultural diversity fair, or training for and participating in a 5k benefit walk.   

10. Do what you love. Know the only thing self-made millionaires (and beyond) have in common? Passion for what they do. You can do what you love – usually in your current role, even if you’re not yet in the ideal one – any number of ways: acknowledging and acting in favor of your strengths, knowing how your actions contribute to the bigger picture, clarifying your organization’s mission and seeing how yours align. You will flourish and truly STAND OUT when you do what you love because people can’t help but notice!