If life and work, were complete meritocracies, then we’d never sweat about whether we’re getting recognised and rewarded for what we do.
But as most of us have found out, it isn’t always the best person who gets noticed or promoted, it’s sometimes the person who’s done a great job promoting themselves.
If you sometimes secretly seethe because you can see others around you moving forwards in their career but you’re not getting the same level of advancement, then it’s a good time to ask yourself why.
Here are 5 simple questions to ask yourself:
- Am I meeting my job expectations? Before looking for promotions or rewards, it's essential to ensure that you're successfully meeting your current role's responsibilities. You might need to seek feedback from your boss or colleagues to determine if you are meeting these expectations.
- Am I continuously improving and learning? Upskilling and continual learning are crucial in today's ever-changing job market. If you've been stagnant in your skill set or knowledge, it might be hindering your promotion prospects.
- Have I communicated my career ambitions? If you have not clearly communicated your career aspirations and desire for a promotion to your manager, they may be unaware that you're interested in advancing. Make sure you've communicated these goals effectively.
- Am I taking on responsibilities beyond my current role? Showing initiative and willingness to take on extra tasks can demonstrate your ability to handle more responsibilities. If you're not doing this, it might be a reason you're not seeing progress.
- Am I effectively networking within the organization? Building relationships within the organization can help you learn about new opportunities, gain advocates for your work, and get support when promotion opportunities arise. If you're not networking effectively, you might be missing out on chances to move up.
These are practical questions at the tactical level, but you might also want to consider this.
Are you uneasy about stepping out into the limelight? For many, there can be a discomfort about shedding light on your contribution, or dare I say it, your brilliance.
So, again, leaning into the practical, here are some things you can do if you’re struggling with drawing attention to the value you’re creating:
- Document Your Achievements: Keep a running log of your accomplishments, big or small, and quantify the impact whenever possible. This gives you concrete evidence to share about your performance and value to the organisation.
- Practise Assertive Communication: This doesn't mean being aggressive or confrontational. Instead, it involves clearly expressing your thoughts, feelings, and needs in a respectful and confident manner.
- Seek a Mentor: A mentor can offer valuable advice on how to advocate for yourself and can help bolster your confidence. They can also help you navigate the political landscape of your workplace and may provide opportunities for you to shine.
- Develop Your Personal Brand: Create a personal brand that showcases your unique skills and value proposition. This can be done through a variety of channels, such as LinkedIn, or within your company via presentations or internal communications.
- Seek Out Small Group or One-on-One Discussions: If the idea of speaking about your accomplishments in a large group setting is intimidating, start by discussing them in smaller, more intimate settings.
- Request Feedback Regularly: Regular feedback can help you understand where you stand and how others perceive your work. It also provides opportunities for your manager to acknowledge your accomplishments.
- Use the 'Sandwich Method': If you're uncomfortable talking about your achievements, try sandwiching them between two other topics. For instance, discuss a challenge you faced, then mention the successful result you achieved, followed by the next steps or future goals.
Self-promotion in the workplace isn't about bragging or inflating your accomplishments; it's about effectively communicating your value to others.
I’d put it even more strongly.
Are you being fully in service to yourself and to your family, to your colleagues and your organisation, when you hold back from sharing what you accomplish?
Shared from a place of authenticity and clarity, it’s easy to discern between what feels like showing off and what feels like a heartfelt decision to share your value.
Most of us have strong BS detectors built-in.
I always encourage my clients to prioritise not living with regret. One of those regrets could be ‘I never really lent fully into sharing my brilliance. I missed out on opportunities because I held back from sharing what I do authentically and genuinely. In service of me and others.'
Let that not be you 🙂
By the way, as a final note, this is valid in other contexts too, not just work.