Do you feel like you are the hardest-working person in your team, but that you never get the recognition you deserve? Or that you’re always being overlooked when it comes to being chosen for interesting assignments?

It might be that you’re not making enough of an effort to get yourself noticed at work. It may sound unfair, but working hard is often not enough to get you to where you want to be in your career.

You might meet all your deadlines, deliver top quality work, deliver vast quantities of work, and do everything else that your employer expects of you – but none of this is likely to be enough if you want to stand out from the crowd.

To stand out, you need to be memorable. And more importantly, you need to be memorable for the right reasons. If you’re hoping to be recognised at work, and to be selected for a leadership position within your organisation, then you need to make sure that you’re putting your energy into the right things. Yes, you do need to get your work done.

But you also need to work on displaying the following leadership skills:

Effective communication skills

Effective communication is essential in the workplace – for working together, for completing tasks more efficiently, for building team spirit, for negotiating deals, and for providing exceptional service to customers and clients.

You can therefore demonstrate your value to your employer by displaying effective communication skills at work. Communicating effectively will also play a key role in helping you to develop and display the other leadership skills listed below.


Empathy involves being aware of others’ feelings, and how their feelings impact their decision-making. To show empathy, you need to engage in active listening, which will help you to connect with the other person, and to truly understand his or her feelings. By showing empathy, you can build trust and improve your relationships with your co-workers.

Sound workplace relationships built on trust often lead to increased employee engagement, which, in turn, leads to higher productivity. And when your employer sees that you are encouraging higher productivity among your co-workers, he or she will see your potential, and see how you are adding value to the organisation.


Instead of simply carrying out instructions, or waiting for your next task to be assigned to you, you need to take the initiative, and find out what you can do to make sure that the organisation’s goals are met.

Whether it means doing tasks that do not fall strictly within your job description, or whether it means finding new and better ways to do things, taking the initiative is a quick way to get yourself noticed. It will show your employers that you are able to think broadly, that you are committed to improving the organisation, and that you are able to get things done.

Motivational skills

Being able to motivate those around you is essential if you want to make an impact at work. Your employer is likely to notice if you are the one who is always inspiring your co-workers, and encouraging them to reach their goals. And part of being a good leader involves being able to get people to work together and to motivate them to achieve joint goals.

Also read: 6 Reasons to Improve Your Emotional Intelligence

Problem-solving skills

By showing that you are quick to solve problems, and that you are able to solve problems effectively and efficiently, you are showing that you have the ability (and the desire) to add value to the organisation.

It will also attract your employer’s attention if you solve problems that are key to your organisation’s success. And by showing your employer that you are a good problem-solver, you will immediately show him or her that you have at least one of the core qualities of a good leader.

By displaying the five leadership skills above, you will not only increase your chances of getting noticed at work, but you will also develop a range of skills that will help you to build your career.

Do you have any other suggestions for how to stand out (and get ahead) at work? Let us know in the comments section below!

This post was originally posted on 30 January 2015, and has been updated for relevance and accuracy.