Are you holding back your career development by not adequately promoting the work you are doing?
Do you tend to stay silent for fear of being seen as arrogant, then feel frustrated when no one credits you for the work you’ve done?
As Consultant and Director at Asentiv Lisa Strutt points out, your manager can’t support or amplify your work if he or she is not aware of it.
‘As a manager myself, I have always been of the opinion that great work speaks for itself and have tried to praise my team on that, rather than have them come bragging to me – they know I have little time for that.
My problem is that this approach doesn’t seem to work for me with my own boss. He generally doesn’t take enough notice of my work, or my teams work, to be in a position to reward it, and I am not comfortable showboating or bragging about it. I’m worried that this is creating a situation where I am not being valued highly enough for the work I do and risk being overlooked.
Is there a way to get across our achievements to a disinterested boss without boasting?’
What is the real challenge here for you?
A good starting point is to challenge your own mindset and then try to reframe your thinking.
At the moment, how you are thinking of yourself and your team’s work is limiting your progress and is probably damaging your confidence. You use the terms “boasting”, “showboating” and “bragging”. What if you thought about it as building awareness of your work and that of your teams? Your manager can’t support or amplify your work if he is not aware of it or of its value.
Are you providing your boss with the information he needs to see the value you add?
What do you want?
If a successful outcome for you is that your boss acknowledges and values your work, then aim to look at the situation from your boss’s perspective. What else is going on? What does he need to show that he is performing well? What are others doing to get the boss’s attention?
This empathetic approach will help you to think about how you can adapt your response. It might lead you to think that your boss is confident in your abilities and is happy for you to get on with the job at hand. Alternatively, you may observe that you are not providing your boss with the information he needs to see the value you add.
Standing back and waiting for praise and reward is a poor strategy for personal and professional growth. You have to TRY (Take Responsibility Yourself)
From insight to action
Let’s start with the communication channels that may already exist, for example 1-1s, team meetings, email performance updates, scorecards and KPIs.
Each of these has its merits, yet nothing beats human interaction, like a 1-1 with purpose and impact. If you can arrange to have regular 1-1s with your boss to deliver a business status update, you will have the opportunity to champion your teams efforts and your role in leading the team.
Standing back and waiting for praise and reward is a poor strategy for personal and professional growth. You have to TRY (take responsibility yourself). This may mean that you also seek other opportunities to amplify your work through building your internal network and finding champions for your work both internal and external to the organization.
Your clients and colleagues horn-tooting about your achievements will go a long way in building your credibility. Commit to actively and intentionally building your own support network, so that you have a trusted circle of contacts that you can go to with important work issues.
Finally engage with a mentor or coach. Seeking help and an objective viewpoint can help with reframing these sorts of work situations and enable you to take more ownership of your achievements.
As Maya Angelou says, “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude”.
About Lisa Strutt
Lisa is a strategic referrals consultant and Director at Asentiv where she supports organisations and individuals to develop strong strategic networks for business and personal growth. Her career spans more than 20 years in the private, public and third sectors where she’s worked to build and lead collaborative partnerships that make a positive difference to business and people’s lives.
She is a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, an Asentiv Certified Networker Instructor, a Princes Trust Business Mentor, chair of the Leadership Team for Lean In Belfast and co-founder of a Giving Circle which matches philanthropists with local causes.
Follow Lisa on twitter @lstrutt @asentivNI