Guest Blog Post from Stephanie Dennis, Owner of Communicate to Thrive
Feeling unappreciated and unrecognized at work? Not quite sure where you stand? Here are actions you can take right now to regain control and advance your career. By taking action, you will also feel more confident, build your reputation and personal brand, and feel more connected to your work.
Put the Hate on Hold
Have you ever gotten the clear vibe that someone dislikes you? It feels horrible. You’ll avoid them, become snarky, and subconsciously put your energy into tearing down that person down. Now, consider how you feel about your managers or coworkers. Do you roll your eyes behind their backs? Do you think they are out to get you? Although it can be incredibly difficult, you must put those feelings aside. You don’t need to be best friends with your supervisor, but it’s important not to send signals that you are a hater. Try to replace feelings of hate with curiosity and even compassion as you try to understand them. Which leads to ….
Understand Your Boss
What is going on with your manager? Businesses often promote the best technical workers to management or leadership roles, and yet provide no support or training. In other words, your boss may be trying to figure out how the heck to be a boss. Plus, he or she is likely navigating pressure from above and below. Think about what they dealing with and show some empathy. Also, get into your boss’ head and consider how they measure success. Is it metrics? Sales? Power? Authority? Everyday you see signals about what is important to your boss. You just need to pick up on them. This will let you anticipate incoming questions so you aren’t blindsided, pitch new ideas so that they are accepted, and help you present your work in a way that will valued by your boss.
Track and Communicate Your Fabulousness
Make a list of everything you are doing, then list the status, and the deadline or target date. This will help you get a grip on what’s going on and is also a great tool to help you communicate to your boss everything that is on your plate. If you have regular meetings with your supervisor, you can bring in a summary version of this document. Your manager will thank you. By offering this type of regular update, you are warding off questions about “what are you doing” and “what is the status on <fill in the blank>.” It also helps you plan your time and recognize in advance if you are going to have an issue with a particular deadline. You will also find this list to be a tremendous help if you are given a new project but wondering how to push back and explain the impact of this project on existing work.
Say The Magic Words
No, the magic word isn’t “please” — although that doesn’t hurt either. Try asking “How can I help?” It’s a game-changer. Imagine that you are a consultant who is there to help the boss instead of thinking of yourself as an oppressed worker bee. Let your manager know that you understand the issues he or she is facing (see item 2) and that you want to be able to help. Or, if you hear your boss grumble or worry about a new project, show that you are part of the team, interested, and ready to help. You would would be surprised by how rarely people say these words, and how powerful they are. Of course, it is crucial that you follow through on what you offer to do.
If you are feeling frustrated at work and not sure how to improve your situation, don’t lose hope! You have more control over your job than you thought. Start by taking the four actions listed above. Slowly, you will notice how your small actions will shift how others think of you and interact with you. These are just some of the ways to get recognized, get control, and get ahead.
Stephanie Dennis is the a career coach and workplace communication consultant. She created Communicate to Thrive to help people take charge of their career growth and professional development.