How to Become Invisible at Work

Nearly every professional understands the value of visibility. After all, when opportunities arise, the person who is both seen and heard—and known as a strong performer—will always spring to mind first.

Nearly every professional understands the value of visibility. After all, when opportunities arise, the person who is both seen and heard—and known as a strong performer—will always spring to mind first.

Yet, sadly, many people are unintentionally sabotaging themselves by engaging in behaviors that make them all but invisible in the workplace. If you’re not careful, you may get so comfortable hiding in the shadows that people forget you’re there!

Below are 5 signs you might be making yourself invisible. Take a look and see if any apply to you. If so, it’s time to step out of the shadows and enjoy the sun.

You Believe Actions Speak for Themselves

This is an old cliché we were all taught as kids, but it doesn’t hold true in the workplace. Actions do, indeed, speak loudly. But in the busy modern-day workplace, they can also go unnoticed. Most people are so concerned with their own workload, they don’t have time to take note of what others are doing.

If you want your actions to really shine, use your words to illuminate them. Tell people what you’re up to and what you’ve achieved. This isn’t about bragging; it’s about learning to articulate the value you deliver. Talking about your own work in a positive way helps others notice the actions they may have overlooked otherwise.

Also read: 15 Habits That Will Make You Well Respected at Work

You Always Let Others Take the Lead

Leadership positions are always a little dangerous. They inherently increase the risk of a situation, but they also increase the potential reward. It’s easy to sit back and allow others to shoulder the burden. But remember: they also bask in the glory when things go well.

Even when it’s uncomfortable, visible performers find ways to take on more leadership. They make intelligent moves and try to identify opportunities where they have a good chance for success.

Look for situations where your skills are really needed and where you think you can make a positive difference. Then, raise your hand and accept the responsibility of taking charge.

You Wait for People to Ask

If you’re waiting for people to ask for your ideas, opinions and perspectives, you may be waiting for a long time. It’s not that people don’t want to hear them. They just don’t want to ask. They want you to freely share the wisdom you have. Coaxing others to express themselves is a tedious job. Don’t make people do that. Instead, offer whatever you’ve got.

Also read: Raise Your Professional Profile in 2 Simple Steps

You Hate to Rock the Boat

People who shake things up are invariably noticed. Those who sit back and simply accept things as they are, often miss out on great opportunities.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you should cause a ruckus for no reason. But, when it makes sense, don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo. If things aren’t working as they are, find a solution—even if it makes others uncomfortable. Be a vocal advocate for necessary change and express dissent when needed…always in a respectful, intelligent way.

You Fly Under the Radar

All too often, people allow fear to drive them into invisibility. They worry that too much attention will make them an easy target, so they fly under the radar. They think if no one notices them, they’re safe. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.

You have more “safety” when you’re visible for the right reasons—when you’re positively contributing in a way that others appreciate. When times are tough, the highly visible people are (perhaps counterintuitively) more protected. They’re viewed as critically important players. People know them and know the value they provide. Visibility might not shelter you completely, but it makes your absence more noticeable. When cuts have to be made, it’s much less disruptive to get rid of the under-the-radar folks first.

A lot of strong performers fail to understand the importance of visibility, and they suffer greatly for it. Don’t fool yourself into thinking the spotlight is too hot. Get out there and warm yourself up!

About the Author

Chrissy Scivicque is a career coach, corporate trainer and public speaker who believes work can be a nourishing part of the life experience. Her website, Eat Your Career, is devoted to this mission. Chrissy is currently a contributing career expert for U.S. News & World Report and the author of the book, The Proactive Professional: How to Stop Playing Catch Up and Start Getting Ahead at Work (and in Life!), available on Amazon.