Dear Leah B.,
I love the career I have chosen. I have exceeded my expectations by reaching a couple of my career goals early. I struggle now with recognition. They appreciate what I bring to the table. But I am more qualified than my direct leadership. Please tell me how to get the recognition I deserve?
Dear Recognition Deserved,
Sadly, you are not the only person in your position. In several corporate environments your ability to maneuver ladder climbing politics and alliances are essential to basic survival. Once survival is mastered and you actually do your job, how do you get those in power to recognize the skills and contributions to your role/team?
1. Figure out what you deserve: Do you deserve a promotion, additional compensation, flex time, a work from home day, more responsibility, direct reports, heading up a project that aligns with your companies strategic goals, participation on a committee, etc.
2. Be Clear: I know you feel like you’re more qualified than your direct leadership but use them to get what you want. Allies are always needed in any fight, so… make them aware of your role. What you do should never be a mystery, don’t run around the office with a bullhorn telling any and everybody what you do but always have a description of your duties and current projects on tap. Write them down and keep the list revised, updated and ready to be spit with confidence. If you’re at the water cooler or kitchenette and the 2020 company goals come up in casual conversation, you have to be ready to “casually” run down how you’re killing it while tying your projects to said goals!
3. Alignment: There’s always someone at work that’s the shit…Not just the shit, but the shit for all of the right reasons: They’re up on all the new initiatives coming down the pipeline, they have the eye of leadership or at least the Assistant of leadership, they get invited to all of the meetings, have great ideas, clients praise them, etc. That’s who you need a standing lunch date with, while at lunch discuss goals and projects that you may be interested in currently. Discuss contacts and discern how they can get you in front of the people that need to see you. You’re the shit too, you just need other people to know you’re the shit.
4. Negotiate/Point of Contact: If you’ve ever been stiffed on credit for a collaboration, chances are you’ve already vowed to never let that happen again. Time to put it to action! In a perfect world, you would get it in writing that your name will be on the final report to the executive board but if you aren’t really comfortable doing so you have to remain on the forefront of every meeting and email associated with the project, you and the project you want recognition for are one and the same. Be the point of contact for anything associated with your work, you want to be the go-to person for all things associated with you, don’t let Lauren take your shine!
5. Advocates: Enlist reputable members of your team who are willing to speak to your work. Any person in the company can be your advocate including you.
Kudos on finding a career that you love and committing to achieve goals in your career that will pay off in the long run. Classify recognition as a goal the way you would a necessary certification or training. Don’t look to have your picture up in the cafeteria overnight but once you begin to align yourself in the right crosshairs you’ll get the recognition and perks that you seek. Good Luck!