Invisible Employees

Do you feel invisible at work? After spending some time with a group of employees a few weeks ago, I learned that the idea of being “invisible” was a real threat or challenge that some of those teammates felt they faced. In their minds, the idea of being invisible meant:

  • Key leaders/decision makers might not know who they are
  • Key leaders/decision makers might be unaware of their performance or contributions to the organization
  • They don’t have high profile roles that makes an obvious and immediate impact (like creating products, closing deals, etc.)

The larger an organization grows, the more likely employees in support roles are apt to feel “invisible.” As leaders, how do we ensure no employee feels invisible? Does it mean that the owner or CEO needs to have a personal relationship with each teammate in the organization? Of course not. Here’s my approach to addressing this very real concern.

Employees shouldn’t be concerned about being visible to the top-level leaders. They need to know that the person responsible for knowing how they’re doing and how well they’re doing it is their own leader – their direct boss or supervisor. That is the person who is responsible for supporting, guiding, and coaching and making sure each employee has what they need to excel in his or her role.

It is the top-level leaders’ responsibility to make sure they have leaders in place who will do an excellent job at growing the people on their teams. If each team’s leader actively invests in growing their people and making sure their employees understand how they contribute to the organization’s goals and vision, the people on their team shouldn’t feel invisible.

The top-level leaders should rely on their key leaders to keep them informed of how their teams are doing. It’s not the top-level leaders’ roles to cherry pick employees for promotions or growth opportunities within their organizations. Instead, they should be asking their own leaders, “Who’s your best leader? Who would be the best fit for this position?”

If you’re concerned about having a job that seems invisible, the most important thing you can do is work to excel in your current role. Serve your customers, your teammates, and your leaders. Commit to learning and growing in your profession, in your role, and as a leader. If you do things consistently, your leader should see it and the growth opportunities should eventually come, sometimes in the form of new projects and new responsibilities, and sometimes in the form of a new position.

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