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7 Unspoken Rules For Success in the Workplace

Ways to Gain Respect and Recognition from Coworkers and Supervisors

Feel like your being overlooked at work despite the quality of the work you do? Here are seven tactics that can help you achieve workplace success.

Assert yourself the right way

Marty Nemko, in a post at Psychology Today , says if you're too overt you'll be seen as willful and if you're too passive you'll be overlooked, so it's important to find the appropriate way to assert yourself.

Ways he suggests doing so include asking colleagues for feedback on draft reports, acknowledging the contributions of others before providing your own input, and seeking out projects in which your strengths will shine.

Don't work too much

That's not to say leave work undone, but don't overdo. If a 40-hour week is the norm at your office, your working 50 hours might not be good for you or your coworkers and could result in hostility from others who aren't putting in the same number of hours. Nemko says it's wise to limit your hours to within 10 percent of the workplace norm.

Navigate office politics

While the idea of playing office politics can be groan-inducing, you can navigate them in a way that serves you without undermining your coworkers. Every office has “power people” who aren't necessarily the CEO. Observe your colleagues to learn who those people are and then find ways to cultivate relationships with them and ways to make them aware of your contributions. Doing so could mean they will praise you to the boss, which can elevate your workplace profile.

Don't spread office gossip

While it might be impossible to avoid hearing office gossip, don't participate in it. If you spread rumors you'll create enemies. But if you take a haughty attitude when someone engages in gossip, you might do the same. The best tactic is finding middle ground that involves not spreading or starting gossip, but not judging (at least outwardly) those who do.

Know your boss

This could also be described as “managing up.” Learn your supervisor's preferences for workflow, reporting, etc. and do all that you can to make your boss' job easier. You'll earn trust and respect.

Don't be high-maintenance

We know you're busy, but it is likely everyone in your workplace is, too. Coworkers and supervisors value and appreciate employees who can complete their tasks with little assistance or supervision. Ask for help when you need it, but do all you can to get your job done on your own.

Be yourself

Following the guidelines above might make you feel like you have to check your identity at the office door, but that's not true. Being a reliable, competent and self-assured employee doesn't mean you have to be devoid of personality or your own ideas. Nemko says it's usually safe to make moderate deviations from the norm, such as “pivoting from timeless clothing designs or lobbying to allow well-behaved pets in your workplace.”

Our experts in career counseling can help you work on these strategies, as well as help you clarify your mission and direction, and support you at each step to create a career you love and a life you are proud to live. Learn more at our Career Counseling page .