Most of us have had a job or worked for someone who clearly had a favorite. While going home and complaining about how unfair it is to our spouse or gossiping about it with other coworkers might seem therapeutic, it’s definitely not going to gain you any favor. Instead it will lead towards feelings of inadequacy and jealousy. You could also be contributing to a toxic workplace environment without even realizing it.
“The lesson is, because there will be many lemons in life, to learn to make the proverbial lemonade – and be open and honest. That’s the best way of doing damage control and positioning yourself for success.” – Vivek Wadhwa
While nobody loves not being the favorite, the good news is that you can position yourself to be favored. Don’t waste time being upset when someone else is favored because that means that you can be favored too. Don’t disqualify yourself.
Just because you notice Suzy in accounting getting favored doesn’t mean you have to take a math class and become the next best accountant. Play to your own strengths and look for ways that you can demonstrate how you add value. Don’t get so caught up on repairing your weaknesses that you lose track of where you really shine.
Studies show that the more you get in front of someone, the more you become a favorite. The key to this is being physically seen regularly. Yes, this means you have to leave your office and actually interact with people. In the digital world, have a coffee chat over Zoom. Make time to put yourself out there. The more people see you, the better they get to know you.
Are you teachable? Coachable? Or are you too stuck in your ways to be flexible? Focus on doing the work to improve yourself. Find a mentor or ask your boss how you can do better. Not only will your boss be happy to see you wanting to improve, you won’t have to waste time guessing and you’ll be able to get yourself up to speed that much quicker. Being teachable doesn’t have to be painful.
Part of being a good investment is adding value to others. If you see a problem, take the initiative to help come up with a solution. Don’t let your coworkers fail so that you look like a success and they look foolish. Instead reach out a helping hand. You’ll get noticed not only because of how savvy you are, but also because you did the right thing.
Let your ambitions be known. Your boss is busy, but never too busy to know about your likes, dislikes and ambitions. If you don’t already have one on your calendar, set up a regular meeting with your boss. Don’t leave it up to chance and hope that your boss will know which projects you want to work on. Be direct and ask for what you want. If the boss doesn’t think you’re quite ready, then ask what you can do to prepare for the next opportunity. Don’t wait for your boss to make the first move.
You might be receiving favor from your boss because they genuinely like you. You may not always deserve it, but if you are being favored, own it. Don’t make apologies. Instead, continue to look for ways to earn your spot.
What’s one way you’ve positioned yourself to be more successful in the workplace?