How Teaming Up Can Help You Stand Out

Despatch Riders
Despatch riders of the Royal Corps of Signals, British Army, trick riding on motorcycles in Quetta, later part of Pakistan, circa 1930. A photograph by the Butani Bros from an album belonging to 3051127 Private. A. Baird, Signal Section, 2nd Battalion, Royal Scots. (Photo by Nigel Dobinson/Getty Images)
Nigel Dobinson—Getty Images

The Fortune 500 Insiders Network is an online community where top executives from the Fortune 500 share ideas and offer leadership advice with Fortune’s global audience. Today’s answer to the question, “What are three things you can do to get noticed at work?” is written by Ann R. Klee, president of the GE Foundation and vice president, Boston development and operations for GE.

When I think about the things I have learned and continue to learn that helped me advance in my career, there are a few lessons that ring true, no matter the role, industry, or level I was in:

Team up

It may sound counterintuitive, but being a part of a team can help get you noticed as an individual. It gives you the chance to meet (and impress) new people across your company, advances your own knowledge base and skillset, and helps you see and understand diverse perspectives. You will never be successful as a lone wolf. Your teammates and colleagues—be they peers, mentors, or leaders—can be your biggest advocates. Succeed on a team and you will have grown your network and visibility.

Get smart

No one enters their first job as an expert—nor is that an expectation of those just starting out in their career. However, to advance you need to be eager to learn and ready to listen to those around you. One of the best things I did when first starting my career, and that I’ve maintained to this day, was to keep a learning mindset. This continues to be critical as I take on new challenges at GE, such as my current role leading the GE Foundation and managing our headquarters’ move to Boston.

I am constantly learning and adapting to the space I work in. I can do part of that myself by listening carefully and reading, but I also often look to the subject matter experts to help educate me. As you grow in your field, you will build credibility as a subject matter expert, and it’s rewarding to be looked at as the go-to resource in a topic area. The more you educate yourself within your field of business or function, the more valuable you are to your boss and your company.


Take risks

To be successful, you have to take risks. Whether you’re just starting out or have decades of experience, stretching yourself into a new role or taking on new responsibilities that are outside of your comfort zone will challenge you in new ways and force you to think differently. I’m doing this today with my two new roles at GE. I’m working outside of my comfort zone, but I am curious and passionate about these new opportunities. If you want your employer to really be impressed by your work ethic, try to succeed in an area you haven’t worked in before.

I’ve worked as a lawyer in private practice, as counsel at some of the highest-ranking environmental agencies in government, and now wear multiple hats working for GE, one of the largest and most innovative companies in the world. When you’ve worked in as many different roles for as many organizations as I have, you have an opportunity to try new things, and even reinvent yourself as you continue to advance in your career. If you keep evolving and learning, it’s only a matter of time before your hard work will get noticed.

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