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Winning in the Workplace: Optics

There's an old saying that "It's not what you know, it's who you know." It speaks to the importance of having a strong business and personal network. An equally true saying might be "It's not what you do, it's what others see."

Have you ever wondered why some people seem to get all the breaks, while other, equally talented people toil away with their efforts unrecognized? Have you ever wondered why bosses or coworkers never seem to appreciate the work some people do?

A lot of times the unfairness in the workplace that we attribute to favouritism or "office politics" is really something much less diabolical. You may feel that people don't appreciate what you do - but perhaps they really just don't know what you do. It is also possible that people might be misinterpreting your actions. For example, people might perceive your thoughtful silence in a meeting as disinterest. They may perceive your 'devil's advocate' approach to being objective as 'not being a team player.' They may think that because you're off-site a lot that you don't do much work. They may not have an understanding of how important your job is to the organization, or the types of challenges you face.

Optics, the way people perceive things, are important to success in a work environment. The more positively people perceive you, the greater respect you earn, and the easier it is to get things done. The more of your successes people are aware of, the more valuable you become to your organization. And when you can combine quality performance with positive optics, everyone wins - you and your organization.

Here are a few basic rules for improving your optics:

1. Let people know of your successes. Don't be a braggart - but don't be unnecessarily modest either

2. Think before you speak. Frame everything as positively as you can

3. Acknowledge other people's successes (they, in turn will be more likely to notice yours)

4. Pay attention to your body language. Even when your mouth isn't talking, your body is

5. Don't be afraid to stand out from the crowd occasionally


Rajendra Deshpande.

From India, Coimbatore
Please note:
This article has been plagiarized by Mr. Deshpande from me, Shaun Belding. It has been taken directly from our newsletter, "Winning at Work" from March 8, 2008.
Winning at Work articles may be reproduced by 3rd parties only when credit for the work is clearly stated as "Shaun Belding" and the following link is provided:
<link outdated-removed> ( Search On Cite | Search On Google )
Winning at Work is a free weekly newsletter with tips and tools for dealing with Bosses, Employees, Coworkers and Customers, and insights into winning strategies in today's workplace. It is published by The Belding Group of Companies Inc.

From Canada, Kanata
Dear Shaun,
Thanks for pointing out. This material had also appeared in 2008 at <link updated to site home>
many of the bloggers get such info as email attachments from friends and they repost it here, without checking the source by searching the web.
Also, some bloggers have pointed out that unless one has obtained International Copyright, its ok to publish it in India. However, I do not subscribe to that view and have been trying to educate bloggers not to plagiarise.
Have a nice day.
A retired academic in UK

From United Kingdom
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