So you think being an outsider is a disadvantage? Sorry, but we beg to differ.
Despite the negative connotation of the word, there is something special about being an outsider. Being someone who is not considered competitive actually eliminates the extra pressure and anxiety that comes with being a “top outsider.”
Contrary to popular belief, being an outsider can be beneficial in the workplace. Working with people who are much more qualified or experienced than you are implicitly forcing you to work harder and prepares you more to advance in the competition. What you need to do is channel your energies into increasing your professional visibility and gaining your boss’ trust.
Look for every opportunity to prove yourself
Underdog employees are often considered the least preferred candidates for an important job. But this is an opportunity to turn the tables on the competition and position yourself as an equal.
Let’s say you’re a female employee working in an organization and you’ve just heard about a recent internal vacancy that requires a lot of negotiation with male clients. While you may be hesitant about such a job, this is actually a chance to prove your mettle as an employee.
Instead of letting a male counterpart grab this position, you should be the first to say yes. Take the interview part as your chance to convince your boss (especially when he is a man) that you are the right candidate for the job.
To convince your boss, you need to come across as a confident, well-rounded woman who can be as good (or better) as her male counterpart for the job.
Play your cards right
An underdog is a dark horse that only shows its true colors when the time is right. As a champion, he only acts when the team desperately needs his support. Similarly, you can present yourself as a potential candidate for a job if there is something that requires your skills or experience.
For example, if your manager is looking for a hand with a project that requires intense mental work, you can help by offering your sharp thinking skills. So, if you are able to complete the project successfully, you can earn a place in your boss’s good books and he will definitely consider you for a management position that requires such skills.
Offer your innovative ideas
Underdogs are known for their imaginative talent. They are slaves to their creative ideas that protect them from the embarrassment of being an outsider. For employers, an outsider can be an asset rather than a liability. They are mentally trained enough to come up with innovative solutions to everyday problems in their work that could be of great help to any employer.
Since you have the chance to possess the art of creative thinking, which is rare in the workplace, you can stand out as a better candidate for a project or job that requires the frequent use of creative muscles. Knowing that you can help your employer with your original ideas, you should demonstrate this particular quality in a one-on-one meeting with your boss.
Don’t be afraid to take risk
Outsiders are those types of employees who tend to take risks where others are not comfortable. Being an outsider takes the burden off you, so you don’t have to feel pressure because you have nothing to lose even if you fail. This works in your favor because you can even take on those challenges that others might shy away from.
For example, if you are a junior employee in a research and development department of a technology company and you get a temporary job opportunity to lead a project, you may not be as confident to take on the role.
If you think wisely, there’s nothing to lose even if you fail. But if you succeed, you’ll earn your boss’s trust, and he or she will gladly make you a permanent authority to lead projects.
Strike while the iron is hot
So you’ve completed a few projects, saved your manager from the ordeal of a difficult task, and now you want to recognize your work.
Once you’re in your boss’s good books, it’s time to move from underperformer to performer. After proving your skills and competencies for your job, you now need to have a serious discussion with upper management.
You can ask for a promotion, a raise, or whatever you deserve for your recently acquired skills, experiences, and achievements. Just make sure you are ready for the meeting so that you can effectively showcase your initiatives that have resulted in a benefit to the organization.
Being an underdog is a blessing in disguise. It’s just that you need to identify scenarios where you can use this blessing in your favor and work your way up the list of successes.