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Discover how to get noticed by upper management at work

November 1, 2022 - 13 min read

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What does “getting noticed” mean?

Tips for getting noticed by upper management

A subtle approach to getting noticed at work

Get noticed by your coworkers

For the future

You put your best foot forward each day at work. You have a strong work ethic, contribute valuable ideas, and always make a positive impact. You know you do great work, but does your manager? Or your manager’s manager?

Research has found that only 36% of employees say their company has a recognition system in place that ensures their boss notices them. If you’re not part of that 36%, it’s time to learn how to get noticed by upper management. 

Whether you choose a direct or passive approach, learning how to get noticed boosts confidence and helps with career development. You don’t need to shower your boss with positive comments — let’s break down what it means to be noticed and why you’d want to achieve that before jumping into some best practices.

What does “getting noticed” mean?

Being noticed at work means your boss and other company higher-ups recognize your contributions. Maybe they notice you’re great at problem-solving under tight deadlines or that you share valuable industry knowledge with your colleagues.

You could get noticed for task execution, like leading your first solo project to success, or day-to-day behavior, like constant compassion and support for coworkers. 

Even the most junior employees make significant contributions, and senior management knows this. But busy bosses and leaders don’t often take the time to recognize and applaud these efforts. 

Being recognized also reminds your bosses that you have the ambition to reach your full potential. Getting noticed is one way to learn how to impress your boss for a promotion, in turn advancing your career success and growth

One of your goals might be to become a manager even though you’re currently in an associate sales position. You might constantly go above and beyond what’s expected of you when it comes to team leadership, closing deals, and furthering your business knowledge by taking night classes. When higher-ups recognize that you’re developing the skills and qualifications needed, they’ll think of you when a managerial position opens up. 

Aside from propelling career development, getting noticed improves your well-being and attitude toward the job. Studies have found that employees feel more satisfied, productive, and motivated when they’re recognized for good work. When you’re noticed for your efforts, you feel valued and that your work is meaningful. This affirmation makes you want to work hard and help the company succeed.

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Tips for getting noticed by upper management

A direct way of getting noticed at work is by making yourself visible. This demands effective communication with others, proactiveness, and sustained efforts. Some ways of becoming more visible might be more or less comfortable for you, so play to your strengths. 

Here are five tips to help you get noticed directly at work:

1. Be engaged in conversations

Find ways to let people know you’re listening and actively engaging in discussions. It’ll remind senior management that you contribute great ideas, solutions, and feedback. Your body language also shows that you’re engaged with your surroundings, so make eye contact and nod along when others are talking. Make sure to use verbal and nonverbal communication skills to articulate your opinions and attentiveness in meetings or brainstorming sessions.

2. Support your manager

Your boss is a busy person with a lot on their plate, so they won’t forget you if you make an effort to lend a helping hand. Managing up is a way of making your boss’s life easier and your presence known. Find ways to help them save time, limit stress, or stay organized. This builds relationships with those in management positions, making them likely to notice your contributions. In return, you’ll learn how to speak to your boss about problems you’re facing, including a desire to be noticed by upper management.

3. Volunteer for internal projects

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People tend to shy away when upper management asks for volunteers — these are the perfect opportunities to raise your hand. Volunteer for tasks like onboarding a new employee or organizing a space to hold a big meeting. It’ll show that you’re engaged with your workplace and value doing more than just your own responsibilities. Upper management will notice your participation, and you’ll earn a reputation as someone who likes to take on new challenges and help others.

4. Network with other departments

Networking gives you the chance to build relationships with new people in your industry — why not do the same with your colleagues? Put it on your to-do list to introduce yourself to team members you haven’t met yet. 

These new acquaintances might offer solid career advice or performance feedback and support you in achieving your goals. The more people you know, the greater opportunity you have to make meaningful connections that’ll get you noticed by upper management. Either way, you might make some friends.

5. Be punctual and prepared

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Upper management will definitely notice if you’re always on time, even early, to meetings and events. They’ll appreciate that you come prepared with all the necessary materials and thoughtful, constructive questions. This behavior conveys that you’re focused on your responsibilities and want to help the company succeed. 

A subtle approach to getting noticed at work

A more direct, aggressive approach may not be ideal for you. Perhaps you struggle with work anxiety, meaning a direct approach is outside your comfort zone. Or maybe you’ve already tried direct methods and want to give a subtler approach a shot. 

There are many subtle ways of getting noticed at work. But calling these approaches subtle doesn’t mean they don’t demand effort or get results. Your more passive actions will still make an impact in your workplace and earn you recognition.

Here are four ways to subtly get noticed at work:

  1. Recognize your coworkers’ achievements: Take note of your coworkers’ wins, and don’t hesitate to give them positive feedback on their work. Studies have found that amplifying other peoples' voices is beneficial to both them and you. It makes their ideas stand out, and you make an impression as someone who likes celebrating others’ successes. Pick your moments wisely, and be honest with your words.

  2. Take ownership of your work: You’ll make mistakes from time to time, but what matters is how you take ownership of them. Accountability at work demonstrates that you’re responsible, self-aware, and honest. Upper management will recognize that you don’t shift the blame to others and view mistakes as learning opportunities.

  3. Be reliable: Being dependable comes in handy for stressful situations and everyday work. You’ll show upper management they can count on you to meet tight deadlines or offer creative solutions to problems. Remember to be present, contribute to conversations, and think critically.

  4. Think ahead: How forward-thinking are you? Do you only focus on the present, or do you think about the bigger picture? Upper management is always thinking about the company’s long-term goals and success. Prioritizing shared values between yourself and the organization when making decisions will help you get noticed. 

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Get noticed by your coworkers

While learning how to get noticed by your boss’s boss is important, have you ever considered the value of getting noticed by your coworkers? Being a recognizable presence on the team not only helps you get noticed by upper management but lifts your work environment’s morale. Coworkers appreciate a hard-working colleague when faced with new challenges, and it might inspire them to work harder, too. 

Getting noticed by your coworkers helps build a positive reputation that’ll make its way up to upper management. Here are some other reasons why getting noticed by your coworkers is important:

  • Shows that you’re someone they can ask for help

  • Demonstrates that you’re dedicated to your team’s success, not just your own

  • Shows that you care about knowing them as people, not just colleagues

  • Helps create better work relationships for stronger collaboration

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You can earn your coworkers’ attention by following some of the practices we’ve already discussed. Think about where and how you interact with your coworkers the most and what would help you connect. Recognize their achievements by giving out kudos during meetings or over lunch, or volunteer to help if they’re feeling overwhelmed. 

For the future

You’re doing a lot to learn how to get noticed by upper management. You’ve learned direct and subtle ways to gain their attention and considered how important it is to make a good impression on your coworkers. 

Whatever approach you take, know that it’ll take time and sustained effort to get noticed. But don’t give up — your efforts won’t be for anything. 

Getting noticed is great for your career growth and confidence. Even if it’s not your boss who notices you, your coworkers will recognize that you’re a reliable, hard-working employee they can count on. And that’s special.

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Published November 1, 2022

Maggie Wooll

Managing Editor

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