How to Stand Out At Work Without Standing Out

Successful careers start with standing out from the crowd.

But, many workers will contribute only what their job requirements call for and not perform much more. A select few will work really hard at their job and do extremely well.  However, there is a small subset of workers who really put themselves out and chip in in any way possible. To advance with your employer, you must be a member of that group.

So, what are some ways you can stand out at work?

How to stand out at work

If you perform your work duties well, you will be recognized as a worker good at his job. However, when it comes time to promote, the management team looks for leaders. Leaders are those workers who are totally involved with the success of the company. They pay attention to their job and responsibility but also are dedicated to the entire business, its goals and vision.

What other activities must an employee take on in addition to his job to stand out?

Many people do not realize that while they were hired to do a job, Management believes it’s also their responsibility to do whatever it takes for the company to flourish. You need to continuously find ways to save or earn the company money, to be get ahead and to demonstrate your value to the firm.

Here are the top 10 ways you can stand out at work and advance your career:

1.Create Your Own Side-projects

Excelling at an assigned project is expected.  Excelling at a side-project helps you stand out.  Create a project and work on it on your own time at home. Your side project will make you ‘that guy.’

It is especially true if you create something for customers.  Test out your ideas for a special product or deliver a unique service with a particular client in mind.  Management will appreciate you even more especially if it locks-in a customer to your company or if the new product or service idea can then be sold to other customers

2. Do Things Without Being Asked

If you see that something needs to be done and nobody is doing it, DO IT. It’s always surprising how few employees do this.

It’s really quite simple: people who step in and help out stand out.

3. Do MORE Than What Your Job Requires

Go beyond offering “standard help.” I’m always impressed in a supermarket if I ask a stocking clerk where an item is located and s/he takes me directly to it rather that saying, “It’s on aisle 8.”  So, at work, don’t give a standard reply on how to do it.  Do it for them!

No matter your job, going above and beyond your standard job duties will help you grow your career.

4. Take the Lead When You Can

Someone must be the leader. Why shouldn’t it be you? If it’s not you, still contribute at a high level. Provide ideas and suggestions. Challenge things that do not make sense. If you do this respectfully, you will stand out.

Once again, silence does not get you noticed; it gets you overlooked. Engage in your career and try to become the leader where possible, but don’t step on anyone’s toes while you’re trying to take over the lead.

Talk it up and do your job as if you already ARE a leader there. If you do not agree with something, ask questions.

5. Be Proactive

Learn all about the organization and how your role can bring maximize benefit to it.  Learn a skill that will help you stand out.  For example, you might become the person everybody goes to for assistance with developing an important presentation to Management or for help with operating a particular computer software.

Anticipate problems that might arise and think about ways to fix them before they even occur. Do not wait for things to happen and be a “reactive” employee.

Most workers know they could do more if they wanted to. So be that person and come up with a plan.  But plans are not enough.  Put the plan into action and mention what you’re doing to your boss.

6. Always Offer Ideas and Suggestions

Start with your own job and if you have an idea or two about how it can be done more efficiently, suggest it. Even if your manager balks at it, keep making suggestions wherever you can.

Eventually, one of your ideas will gain support and you’ll make a difference at work. Sometimes the smallest ideas can have the greatest impact.

7. Do Not Sit Quietly in Meetings

Every meeting has employees who talk and those who do not. Strengthen the discussion any way you can and contribute at a high level. When management is in meetings with you, they take notice of the contributors.  But don’t talk just for the sake of hearing your voice.  Then you will stand out as a blowhard that managers will want to muzzle.

Leaders are not silent in meetings. Advance in your career by being active in it.

8. Be Dependable and Reliable

Show up on time every day. Let appropriate people know well ahead of time if you must be late or absent.  Be on time, whether you’re arriving for work, returning from lunch, going to staff meetings, or completing tasks.

Be prepared. Come to work willing to pay attention, follow directions, and do the job.

Do what you say you’ll do.

Keep your work area organized. This habit shows your boss and co-workers that you’re in control of what you’re doing.

Review the quality of your own work.  It shouldn’t take your supervisor to point out your errors or faulty judgement.

9. Work Harder Than Anyone Else

Nothing is an alternative for hard work. Observe the people working around you: How many of them are working as hard as they could?

Very few.

The best way to stand out is to out-work all your co-workers.  It’s also the easiest way because you’ll be the only one trying.

10. Always Offer to Help Others

Become the “go-to” person—the person that can be counted on to help. If you are that person, it will go a long way!

What-if your company announced layoffs. An employee who is the “go-to” person and adds value to the organization will be considerably less likely to be laid off than an employee who just sits quietly and does their job.  A quiet employee that does their job well doesn’t stand out as an indispensable employee.

By offering to help others and having expertise, you’ll stand out as an impressive employee—one most companies wouldn’t want to lose.


When you are at work, always seek out ways to improve the company. Become an integral part of taking your company to the next level.

If you show your interest lies far beyond yourself, your specific job responsibilities, and your salary, you’ll stand out and you’ll be setting yourself up to become a future leader in the company.

10 Quick Tips for Business Survival During the Pandemic

Abruptly Recognize and Respond to the Core Of This Pandemic Crisis

Just weeks ago we were all going about our lives, but in a flash everything turned decidedly worse.  We had to quickly recognize the core of this crisis as it pertains to our unique business circumstances.  And try to figure out how to respond in a few short days that business usually have months to prepare for.  Most businesses experienced or are experiencing:

  • Declining sales
  • rising expenses
  • customer churnLeaders respond to Coronavirus
  • and most important – insufficient cash

More symptoms seemed to develop weekly, if not daily, as we were faced with

changing medical guidelines and political directives.


Leadership Tips During the Coronavirus

With that said, here are 10 Quick Tips To Manage During the Coronavirus Pandemic and survive with businesses intact:


  1. Rapidly Grasp the Problem and Focus on Real Solutions

How did companies cope?  The select few leaders quickly acknowledged the problem, understood what’s driving it and identified solutions.

Poor managers procrastinated or froze up – postponing tough decisions. Those decisions tend to get harder the longer they are delayed in such uncertain times.

  1. Making Top-Down Personnel Changes, Starting With Management

The attitude needed to lead in crisis is different and some managers just won’t have ‘it.’ They may be fine in business-as-usual circumstances but in this across-the-board disaster we are experiencing, they will not succeed or pull their weight and contribute the way they must. There’s too much at stake so, bottom-line, replacing, some senior managers of their positions could improve the chances of success. This gives a heads-up to all employees how grave the situation is and that the leadership will act decisively for business survival.

  1. Delegate Critical Decisions Quickly to Internal Talent

This goes with the previous tip by placing the best talent in charge.  Milk rises to the surface.  Understanding how the organization works really provides value in a crisis. This ‘take-charge’ mind-set can exist in employees who were previously under-valued but can now contribute much more. There also may be individuals who see the situation as an opportunity to develop their careers, be part of something sweeping and make a significant difference. They are the minority while most people worry about job security. But retaining them and positioning them to lead could be a key to survival.  Give them praise in public will further give them self-assurance to continue to excel. Allow them to make mistakes and advise them what went wrong.  They will surely recognize this as the opportunity of career advancement as will others and motivate workers to perform their best.

  1. Self-Critique

Ideally, executives will look critically at their own performance, the performance of their peers and the plans ready to make a quick and forceful change. Defining interim targets is an important in the game plan, for example, “if we don’t hit XXX in sales by the third quarter we will completely re- assess our strategy”. Generally, the availability of cash is one of the most important checkpoints.

  1. Cash Flow Paramount

No one can accurately forecast when demand will approach normal levels.  We’ve all heard the expression, ‘cash is king’ and it’s especially so in a crisis. will the business generate enough cash until demand returns and bills are paid? This requires not only understanding the current cash position, but accurate cash forecasting is vital.  Not just the business as a whole, but which parts of the business contribute positive cash flow.  These must be prioritized over cash draining functions.

This should drive your organization to cut costs and eliminate ‘nice-to-haves’ in favor of ‘must-haves.’  This will drive a company to uncover cash-leaks and take a tough stand on business-as-usual and focus on zero-based budgeting.

  1. Business Coaches, Mentors and External Advisors

The relationship between company owners and management will vary depending on number of employees, demand breakdown, business locations, the regulatory impact, and medical factors. Regardless, there is considerable  merit when  leaders can gain insight from talented professionals who are away from the day-to-day functions and see the ‘big picture’ or have insight into the actions of other similar businesses are dealing with many of the same issues.. Outside advisors can present a useful viewpoint on business risk and they should help build turnaround plans. Skillful leaders know how to take advantage of this.

External advisors can review your business Free, like SCORE )ancillary arm of U.S. Small Business Administration or SBDC, which offers free advise which work through universities to offer insight from retired business professionals.

  1. Consistent Communication

This is aimed not just at employees, but also customers, suppliers, bankers and others.  .Management must credibly highlight company direction and focus plus answer some important questions:

  • Why is our set of objectives and interim goals?
  • How will we achieve them?
  • Who will be responsible?
  • What are the target dates?
  • What happens if we don’t achieve the targets or are late getting there – some implications
  • What is Plan B if needed?

You need to create and distribute a script that all can see a fundamental, core narrative of the leader’s vision and action plan and how that trickles down to subordinates.

  1. Focus on Quick Hits

Even small achievements are worthwhile when managing through a crisis. We daresay that even almost-wins are important and should be celebrated.  Obviously, there has to be ultimate, longer-term direction, but getting through immediate challenges day-by-day helps build confidence and motivation and becomes the foundation on how to get there and provides motivation and buy-in along the way.

. So, play some ‘small-ball’ directing attention on hitting today’s production number or picking up a new prospect or one team member’s short-term progress renegotiating a supplier contract, etc. While these ‘wins’ won’t deliver the turnaround of the business, they play a part in getting there and make possible continued business existence and  the eventual achievement of long term business survival.

  1. Focus Incentives on Turnaround

Your company and the environment is uncertain.  An organization facing hardship needs distinctive rewards than a stable one. In a crisis, incentives should relate directly to the turnaround of the business for which clear metrics are set. Perhaps these metrics could relate to cash levels, new leads, new sales or a return to profitability. They should be succinct, relatively short-term and reviewed frequently as the business changes. An inspired workforce with shared goals is precisely what your company needs to get everyone pulling in the same direction to get beyond the wreckage of Coronavirus and its devastating impact on business.

  1. Convert Good Crisis Business Practices into Normal Behavior

Post-pandemic, the first 9 good business practices we listed should become established components of your business playbook and an employee-accepted part of the structure of your organization.  Who knows, maybe as the pandemic comes to an end, you’ll have learned a few new habits to reinvent your business that you can put to work as you begin to really focus on your recovery journey.

Managers ‘tested-under-fire’ must quickly become leaders that bring a sense of ‘crisis-urgency’ and best practices to their organization even in times of stability.

Moving Forward

Flexicrew is supporting many clients as they deal with these challenges. We are here for you.  Please get in touch if you need helpworkforce planning, recruiting, safe employee temperature screening or contact tracing in this uncertain period.