Feeling Overlooked At Work? Try This Approach

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If your career or business isn’t going quite as you’d planned, then you’ll need to take a fresh approach to reinvigorating it and yourself.

Just as we often cruise through life on auto-pilot, with the result that we can become blind to what’s going on around us, the same thing can happen to us and how we’re perceived by others. It’s very easy to get pigeon-holed in a particular role, or be labelled as a certain type of person with corresponding expectations attached to that label.

So, for example, you may be ‘Jenny, the stalwart of the office who works very hard and can be relied upon to deliver projects on time’, as opposed to ‘Sam, who is the up and coming star, full of ideas and leadership potential’. You may well feel that you have just as much leadership potential as Sam, but the problem is, other people aren’t seeing it – because they see different things when they look at you.

Confirmation-bias will cause them to seek out evidence that reinforces their view of you too. They don’t see a leader.

This means that you may be feeling that you’re overlooked when it comes to opportunities to advance your career. In order to overcome this, your job is to help re-educate the people around you and show them exactly what you’re capable of.  You’ll need to provide them with fresh evidence that clearly showcases your capabilities.

You’ll need to make changes and a good place to start is by considering your own contribution to the situation. I don’t mean this in a judgmental way, but how are you currently showing up and how well is it helping you? You’ll need to be honest with yourself before you can begin to make changes.

If you feel that you’re being overlooked or not considered for valuable opportunities, then here’s some tips that will help you to be pro-active in managing this and build your credibility. These will take determination, energy, courage and a real desire for change on your part.

Renee was a client who felt like this and who came to me to help her change how others persevered her. She was a great example of how focused determination, ambition and a real desire to change could work wonders. We worked together to help her demonstrate her true capabilities, with the effect that others saw her as being on an upward trajectory in her career, which opened doors for her.

1. Acknowledge your expertise. You’ll do well to remind yourself of this before you attempt to remind others. All leadership development start with yourself. Sit down and list your skills, contributions, achievements and accomplishments. Take a look below and internalize the message…


2. Learn how to articulate your strengths with confidence. Use vocabulary that others in your organisation, industry or sector will immediately understand. Get rid of any tendencies for self-deprecation or habit of drawing attention to your shortcomings, even in jest. Whilst humility is a good thing, your job here is to demonstrate your strength and authority. You’re aiming to be able to confidently showcase yourself – and if you do that verbally, be  concise and compelling.

3. Understand who you need to demonstrate this information to. Pick one person who is a key influencer for you and pro-actively target them with the aim to help them see you in a different light. Look for opportunities to raise your visibility and profile around them; a good place to start is by understanding what their priorities are and helping them achieve them.

4. Do things differently and be consistent. This can take some time, but is key. It’s no good changing the way you show up for a few weeks and then reverting back to old habits, which possibly accounts for where you are now. Make a list of what you could do to show up differently and commit to putting something into practice.

I’d also add here that it’s probably a good idea to consider how you’d like others to view you before you get to this stage – so a little bit of career or business planning, focussing on how you’re going to develop and build your reputation may be something to consider before your next move.

And if you’d like some help making these changes, then take a look at The Visible Leadership Programme

one_to_one_coachingI’m Susan Ritchie, an author, leadership and executive coach and trainer. My second book, Strategies for Being Visible: 14 Profile-Raising Ideas for Emerging Female Leaders is now available as a paperback, an audiobook and for the Kindle reader.