It might sound counter-intuitive but lifting your colleagues is a great way to get ahead in your career

How to get ahead in your career by lifting your colleagues

Are you craving the next step in your career? Looking for ways to get noticed by your boss? Perhaps it is time to stop focusing on yourself.


Lifting your colleagues may seem a little counter-intuitive when you are trying to shine a spotlight on your own achievements. But lifting your colleagues can have a flow-on effect when it comes to the culture of your workplace and can be a great way to demonstrate your leadership skills.

In this post I am exploring a few different ways that you can lift others. We also discuss the positive impacts that this can have on your organisation and the ways in which you can use these changes to advance your own career.

So, how do you "lift" the people around you?

The best way to go about lifting your colleagues is providing them with positive feedback. I'm a huge advocate of providing positive feedback to others and I've seen the way it can improve relationships and increase employee engagement. Some organisations have a formal reward and recognition structure where you can nominate other employees for awards or share good news. Using one of these programs is a really easy way to give someone a pat on the back.

If your employer doesn't have a structure like this in place, you will need to be a little more proactive. But proactive doesn't have to be difficult. Here are a few ways that you can implement this idea when a formal program isn't in place:

  • If you receive an email from a customer that specifically mentions one of your colleagues (eg. "Matt was really pleasant to deal with") then make sure you pass this feedback on! Forward the email to your manager and your team mates and "shout out" your colleague for giving great customer service.
  • If you don't have an email from a customer, don't despair. You can be the customer. Has one of your colleagues been particularly helpful to you? Send an email out (include your colleague, your manager and your other team mates) and pass on the feedback.
  • Instead of sending an email, you could also take the opportunity at one of your team meetings to thank a colleague or pass on congratulations.

Do you have to do it in a public forum?

In short, no. There is nothing wrong with passing on positive feedback to one of your team members in a one-to-one situation. My long answer is, however, that I would encourage you to at least consider using a public forum to share your commentary. I have two reasons for this.

The first, is that it is such a great way to create some excitement in your team and it gives your other colleagues the opportunity to pass on their congratulations, add to the story you are telling or maybe even give some snaps! (So, I am a fan of Legally Blonde.... sue me! Haha!)

My second reason is that once you start sharing positive feedback in front of other people, it encourages them to do the same. Your team mates will feed off your energy and this can cause a wave (or even a tsunami!) of positive feedback being shared between people who are all eager to celebrate each others' successes.

The only reason that I wouldn't share your positive feedback at a team meeting or in another group setting, is if you know that your colleague is super shy and wouldn't appreciate being the centre of attention. In that case I think the message is more powerful when shared on a one-to-one basis.

Create organisational change and get ahead by lifting those around you.

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How can lifting your colleagues help you get ahead?

Perhaps you are still wondering how all of this can help you. I mean, it is a rewarding experience, but how can sharing positive feedback actually help you? Well, when you're lifting your colleagues, you're demonstrating several key qualities. And this is sure to be noticed by your management team.

Team work 

Great team work skills are hugely important to any organisation. Managers appreciate team members who lead from the front and take an interest in strengthening team relationships.


When you provide positive feedback to someone in your team, it demonstrates that you are observant. It also shows that you're noticing the good work that is going on around you, even if you aren't specifically involved.


By participating in encouraging activities you are showing your managers that you are engaged and that you care about the organisation and your team. Engaged employees are seen as being reliable and are often rewarded for this.


Leadership is an extremely valued behaviour. Often, leadership qualities are a driving factor in decisions about whether or not an employee receives a promotion. Some people believe that leadership qualities can and should only be demonstrated by people in leadership positions, but this is absolute rubbish. Leadership is largely about motivation and inspiration and this can be achieved at any level of an organisation. Lifting your colleagues is a great demonstration of this. 


When I say change, what I am really talking about is the ability to effect change. As I have mentioned, sharing positive feedback can be the catalyst for huge changes within an organisation and it will be noted that you were an integral part of that.

So, whilst I can't make any promises about your chances of future promotion, I know for certain that these are the types of qualities that I would be looking for in an employee, when considering their advancement.

Are there any other ways that you can start lifting your colleagues?

In this article, I have spoken mainly about using positive feedback to lift those around you, as this is a really quick, easy and free way to get started. But this is only part of the puzzle. There are loads of other ways that you can promote change and positively impact your team mates. This is not just about making your colleagues happy. It's about encouraging, empowering and recognising. Some other ideas include:

  • Teach your colleague a new skill, or a different way to do things
  • Promote team building through a social event or a morning tea
  • Invite a team mate to get involved or take an active role in a project you are working on
  • Encourage innovation by asking your colleagues for input or the chance to brainstorm
  • If a colleague helps you with something, you might consider giving them a card or a small gift

If you have any positive stories about how you are lifting your colleagues or perhaps how someone else has lifted you, let me know in the comments! I would love to hear stories about how positivity is being shared in teams and how taking the lead has helped you get ahead in your career.

If you're looking for more tips about leadership and managing a team, you should check out this post

It might sound counter-intuitive but lifting your colleagues is a great way to get ahead in your career ~ Pop Your Career


About the Author


Bec McFarland is an experienced HR practitioner, manager, career coach and the creator of Pop Your Career. She delights in sharing practical, straight to the point career advice, spending time with her family and eating Mexican food.

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