Gaining Standing

… a core concept in Leadership Skills and Atlas 109

StandingConcept description

This concept (effective practice) deals with securing a greater recognition or standing within a community so that one’s proposals and ideas will be taken more seriously.

Dorie Clark, writing in Time Magazine (reference below) suggests the following four ways to stand out and gain recognition as an authority:

  1. Embrace the power of your difference. When your background is different than others – because of your age, your gender, your education, or your past career experiences – you see the world in different ways, and that can lead to breakthroughs.
  2. Make your expertise undeniable. It can be hard to be recognized as an expert right out of the gate if you’re a generalist. But if you start with a niche, you can quickly outmaneuver the competition and demonstrate a superior knowledge of a narrow subject, such as wearable technology or water polo or the Iowa caucuses. Once others recognize your expertise, they’re more likely to listen to you on a variety of related subjects.
  3. Build your network. It’s always helpful to have a strong network of fellow professionals who know you, trust you, and believe in you. But when your background is unconventional in a given context – a millennial in a top corporate role, or a woman in a venture-capital firm – it becomes essential. Your network can give you the kind of frank feedback you need in order to navigate office politics and complex dynamics, and can serve as cheerleaders when others doubt you based on surface criteria. Making an effort to have lunch with one new person and reconnect with at least one colleague in your inner circle on a weekly basis can keep your network strong.
  4. Share your knowledge. One of the best ways to convince skeptics of your merits is to prove you know what you’re doing. When you share your knowledge publicly – giving speeches, writing blog posts, or curating a smart Twitter feed about your industry – you demonstrate your competence clearly because you allow others to see what’s inside your head. An additional advantage is that when you start to build up a broader following, those closest to you – such as co-workers who may have been questioning your credentials – have to re-evaluate their feelings when their own friends start to talk about you and your ideas.

Dorie Clark (2015), 4 Ways to Stand Out and Gain Positive Recognition at Work,, at, accessed 4 March 2016.

Atlas topic and subject

Building Resources (core topic) in Leadership Skills.

Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified on 8 March 2016.

Image: Louisa Chan, at, accessed 4 March 2016.