Shahrzad Rafati, founder and CEO of BroadbandTV
Photograph by Peter Holst
By Shahrzad Rafati
May 12, 2015

The Leadership Insider network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question “How do you go from a worker bee to a decision maker?” is by Shahrzad Rafati, founder and CEO of BroadbandTV.

Whether you work for a startup or a global corporation, everyone wants to have a say in their professional endeavors. But it’s not always easy to convince others—especially those more senior—that your opinion is valuable. Here are some key things to keep in mind when trying to establish a voice in your organization:

Go beyond your job requirements
No matter how big your ambitions are, if you can’t deliver on your assigned tasks it’s going to be difficult to convince others that you can successfully handle additional responsibilities. Don’t just perform—exceed expectations. Put in the extra effort needed to improve your aspect of the business and make sure that your aptitude in your current role is known.

Be informed
Your perspective is more valuable (and respected) if you’re well-informed. Pay attention to the influential leaders in your business and learn from their actions. The best decision-makers know how to analyze a variety of viewpoints in order to make the most informed decision. Be aware of the opinions around you and find ways to incorporate your own perspective.

Listen to feedback
Figure out who you think would respond well to your ideas and find a good time to discuss them. And remember to be receptive of feedback. Other employees are likely to have useful insight that you aren’t aware of.

Be fearless
We can’t all be the loudest person in the room, but the best decision-makers rarely are. You don’t have to be loud to be confident in your value. Be tactful, but don’t be scared to own the spotlight when it presents itself.

Read all answers to the Leadership Insider question: How do you go from a worker bee to a decision maker?

Why this CEO believes you should be more opinionated at work by Sarah Kauss, CEO and founder of S’well.

How to be more bossy at work (in a good way) by Joe Hyrkin, CEO of Issuu.

The advantages of a tough boss by Sunil Rajaraman, co-founder of

How to smoothly transition from a colleague to a managerby Nir Polak, CEO and co-founder of Exabeam.

4 signs you’re ready to be a manager by Dominic Paschel, vice president of corporate finance and investor relations at Pandora Media.


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