Three Ways to Become Invisible

Published: October 27, 2014

One true measure of engagement is if, in the eyes of your peers, you matter. Whether in a business meeting or an interpersonal exchange, everybody knows what it feels like to be invisible. Your partners might be making eye contact but their attention is on other priorities. Colleagues are checking their smartphones during your presentation. It’s the classic portrayal of “presenteeism” - the body is present but the spirit is not. Consider these three methods to achieve invisibility:

1. Allow your knowledge, products, and services to grow stale.

In a world that evolves while you sleep, it takes a serious commitment to doing your homework to remain vibrant. In a 2:1 ratio, devote yourself to spending two hours learning about your partners, customers, and audience for every hour you invest in growing your own platform.

2. Take more than you give.

As Adam Grant discusses in his 2013 masterpiece, Give and Take, “givers” who balance an appropriate blend of self-interest with other-interest create a tremendous amount of good will in their networks resulting in the eventual return on their investment. “Takers,” on the other hand, collect some early wins but, in the long run, end up alone (and invisible).

3. Prematurely declare “game over” following a set-back.

The richness of success grows remarkably when fueled by the desperation of letdown. Those who give up early don’t live long enough to enjoy such wealth. When someone struggles in an endeavor, teammates instinctively distance themselves from the pain. Those brave few who endure the discomfort are rewarded for their courage and loyalty.

Have you become invisible?

Photo of Steve Ritter, the co-founder of The Center for Team Excellence

Steve Ritter

Steve Ritter is an internationally recognized expert on team dynamics whose clients include Fortune 500 companies, professional sports teams, and many educational organizations. He is on the faculty of the Center for Professional Excellence at Elmhurst College where he earned the President's Award for Excellence in Teaching. Steve is the former Senior Vice President, Director of Human Resources at Leaders Bank, named the #1 Best Place to Work in Illinois in 2006 and winner of the American Psychological Association's Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award in 2010. Steve provides ongoing workplace culture consultation to many thriving companies including Kraft Foods, Advocate Health Care, Kellogg's, the Chicago White Sox, AthletiCo, and Northwestern Mutual Financial Network.