How to turn your side hustle into your main gig
Have a special talent that's got you dreaming of ditching the corporate wear, handing in your security tag, and telling your boss to start typing up a new Seek ad? Best read this first.
So you’ve been flying under the radar at work and think it’s time to show your true value to the boss.
You’re not a big-noter, though, and your next performance review is months away. There are smart and understated ways to promote your strengths and build your achievements without being seen as a blatant self-promoter, according to Leonie Green, a human resources and coaching expert at the Corvus Group. Here are her tips.
1. Make sure you’re listening
Green says with the stress of work many people forget to stop and listen. Truly listening to leaders and managers gives you clarity about the goals of the organisation – and what your bosses want! This knowledge gives you a chance to respond and be invaluable.
While listening is great, at the same time employees must be able to find their voice.
“There’s no point standing back completely because, in fact, you’re listening in order to be able to contribute wisely and appropriately,” says Green.
2. Know your role
Sure, you have a job title, but many employees are still not sure about the exact nature of their duties. Green says many younger workers in particular lament not knowing their key performance indicators (KPIs).
“It becomes a problem for individuals if they don’t have a clear picture of what they’re there to do,” she says.
Seeking clarity from a senior makes sense, but Green says opportunities can be lost if a person waits and waits for certainty about their job. Instead, assess the vision of the organisation, evaluate your skills and strengths and see where they align with the goals of the business. Then start doing.
3. Set your own KPIs
In the absence of clear KPIs, draft your own and work out how you can deliver them. In short, be a self-starter.
“That’s ultimately going to be a great story to tell when you go into a performance review,” Green says.
4. Make yourself accountable
Don’t always expect that someone else in the organisation is going to track your performance and check if you are meeting your KPIs. Take it upon yourself to ensure you are meeting expectations and achieving your goals. As Green observes, bosses love proactive staff.
Assess the vision of the organisation, evaluate your skills and strengths and see where they align with the goals of the business. Then start doing.
5. Understand your personal strengths
Getting clarity around your strengths – and weaknesses – builds self-awareness and helps you add value in the workforce. Appreciate, too, that these strengths will “ebb and flow”.
“This is a career and lifelong journey,” Green says.
6. Prepare for your performance review
Some organisations have a very structured fill-out-this-document approach to performance reviews, but Green advises trying to stand out from the pack. Go into the meeting with a list of your achievements. Be able to demonstrate what makes you a high contributor to the team. Outline your goals for the next year.
7. Find ‘quieter’ ways to highlight your achievements
Bosses are busy and may overlook your good work. So let them know … subtly. Perhaps send an email to a manager saying you’re pleased with your progress on A, B and C – and these are the results. Or send the same message on to a colleague, who may then sing your praises at a meeting.
At the same time, Green says it is important to critically think about how you celebrate other people’s successes.
“If you feel like your own progress or achievements are not being recognised then think about how you recognise the achievements of others – because you may then have that come back to you in kind as well.”
8. Don’t keep banging your head up against the wall
Sadly, some managers will never appreciate your hard work.
“Don’t use up too much energy trying to get through to those people who are not seeing or hearing your value,” Green advises. Rather, shift your focus to others in the organisation who may be more receptive. If you keep doing things your seniors value, your work should ultimately be acknowledged.
9. Be easy to work with
Last … but not least. Helping others out in the workplace often results in return favours.
“There is a whole lot to be said for pleasantries and being considerate of others!”