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This is how to demonstrate your value at work

When underpromising and overdelivering isn’t cutting it, try these methods instead.

This is how to demonstrate your value at work
[Photo: GaudiLab/iStock]

You’ve underpromised, overdelivered, and volunteered to help your boss with every single project that’s come your way. You speak up in meetings, make an effort to know your colleagues, and you’ve never missed a single deadline. So why does it feel like you’re not making that much progress in your career?

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There are a number of possible reasons for this (some of which you might not have much control over)–but if the usual tactics to stand out aren’t working for you, it might be time to turn to counterintuitive measures. Try one of these methods  you might not have thought of to demonstrate your value at work.

Embrace your haters

You might be the most polite and professional person in your workplace, but sometimes, you just don’t click with someone. For some reason, it seems like they’ve really got it in for you, and the thought of having to interact with them fills you with dread.

Amy Newmark, editor-in-chief and publisher of Chicken Soup for the Soul, previously told Fast Company that harboring negative feelings toward an employee hurts you more than it hurts them. After all, holding a grudge against someone takes a lot of energy that you can use otherwise for something positive. Not only that, but if you learn to view your interactions with this person in an analytical way, you can learn not to take things personally. Not only is this a valuable leadership skill to have, but it can help you immensely in negotiations as well as during sensitive conversations.


Related: 4 ways to develop your leadership skills in your everyday life 


Give up responsibilities

Are you juggling lots of different projects at once? Do you enthusiastically say yes to every assignment that lands on your desk? While this is a great way to demonstrate your commitment when you start a new job, at some point taking on too many responsibilities can bring diminishing returns. But as Dorie Clark, author of Entrepreneurial You: Monetize Your Expertise, Create Multiple Income Streams, and Thrive, previously told Fast Company that the more you have on your plate, the less time you have to focus on critical tasks that can really move you forward in your career.

Clark acknowledges that it can be tough to turn down work–particularly if your boss has come to depend on you to pick up extra work. But she recommends framing it in the context of what’s best for the company. Ask them where it’s worth spending the bulk of your energy given the company’s goals and priorities. This is a way to show your commitment to the organization without having to work longer hours or doing things outside of your job description.

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Related: Five ways to reinvent your job when you can’t change your job title 


Think like a team member, rather than as an employee

On the other end, if your focus has been solely on self-promotion, you might want to shift your focus to how you can best help to lift up your team. Yes, this means sharing the credit with your team members, but if it results in a better outcome for the company, it can only benefit you as an employee. In addition, learning to see how your work relates to the company’s overall goal allows you to come up with better ideas

As Anush Kostanyan previously wrote for Fast Company, “. . . each success, each achievement of the organization is yours as well. Corporate prosperity will lead to your personal prosperity, too. As soon as you establish this mind-set, you will start caring about each detail and dedicating all your efforts to achieving profound outcomes.”

Manage up

When people think of “managing,” they often think of someone senior giving instructions to someone more junior. But it’s a lot more than that–in fact, if you want to succeed, it’s crucial that you put in effort to manage your boss. As Ximena Vengochea previously wrote for Fast Company, sometimes working hard isn’t enough to get you that promotion or stretch assignment; you need to tell your manager what your career goals are and be proactive about finding a way to get there.

Says Vengochea, “Asking for your manager’s support isn’t the same as sitting on your hands and waiting for it. After all, it’s easy to wait for approval. It’s a lot harder to take initiative. But when you’re proactive, it often pays off–for you as well as your employer.”

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About the author

Anisa is the Assistant Editor for Fast Company's Work Life section. She covers everything from productivity to the future of work

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