From a young age, we’re taught that the way to get ahead is to put our heads down and work harder than everyone else. But is that the correct way to succeed?

Executive coach Jeff Shannon believes that “hard work is a good start” and can certainly help you establish yourself in a job early in your career. However, this isn’t enough to get you to the top. “At a certain point you look around and realise, wow, everyone works hard at this level. Expertise and hard work just become the expectation, and will not help you up the ladder,” Shannon says. Hard work isn’t worth much if no one notices you’re doing it. You must make people notice it—including yourself—to convert that effort into promotions and advancement, especially in today’s changing workplace. Carol Frohlinger, head of a US-based consulting firm, coined the term “tiara effect” to describe this phenomenon. “People work really hard and deliver fabulous results and hope that the right people notice and come along and place a tiara on their heads. But that usually doesn’t happen,” she states. Proven ability alone isn’t enough to progress in most offices and sectors; you also need to be likable and memorable. To ascend the corporate ladder, you must be not only a brilliant worker but also a politician who can be perceived as a leader.

While it may appear to be a bit manipulative, glad-handing isn’t harmful to anyone, and it may be necessary to advance. Nobody takes care of your career but yourself.