Do others in your company or department really know what you do? Do they have any idea of the contributions you make to your organization?
I have worked with many individuals who do fantastic work, but their contributions may go unnoticed because they fail to promote themselves. Even as leaders, they are more likely to encourage recognition for the work of others on their team and forget to advocate for the work they have done personally. These individuals may even be overlooked for promotions because their capabilities are not well known to those making the decisions. While they may assume that the great work they are doing will get noticed, this is simply just not always the case.
In many cases, these are the people who get things done and are the go-to people in their organization, and they do it without self-promotion. They are “quietly competent.” They may also be considered introverts — more comfortable with their heads down or making a contribution without drawing out a lot of attention.
In the world of matrix reporting, global teams and virtual workplaces, it is harder to have your work recognized without a little self-promotion. Your leader may not be in the same building, city or even country as you are. How are you promoting the work you are doing or the ideas you are generating?
I am certainly not advocating becoming someone who is constantly bragging to others about all of the great things they are doing and patting themselves on the back every day. I am suggesting, however, that there are ways to shine a spotlight on your ideas and accomplishments and that demonstrating the value you add is important. In order to get noticed and recognized for your work, you need to engage in some promotion of your contributions and skills.
If this is resonating with you, below are some ideas to consider to promote your work. Even as a leader of a team, those around you need to know what and how you have contributed.
Utilize meetings with your boss.
If you have regular meetings with your boss, take some time to talk about a win that you had since the last meeting. What impact did this initiative or situation have on the business or the leadership of your team? What are you proud of? Who are you helping or mentoring? Making notes of these accomplishments will also be helpful if you are doing a self-assessment on your own performance at review time.
Find a sponsor who knows your work.
For many of us, it is hard to espouse our own value or promote our own work. There are likely people around you who know what you contribute. They know the type of leader you are and would be happy to help promote your work if they knew you needed the help. You may even want to reach out to these people and get some feedback on your contribution. These individuals may end up being good references for your work in the future.
Build and use your network.
Building your network through social media is not hard, but actually using your network to help to tell your story is a little more challenging. It is often hard to get out of the office to meet with people in your network, but this is one of the things that many successful people make a conscious effort to do. As you get out to meet your connections, you have an opportunity to tell people what you are doing — and, perhaps, they can help to promote your work externally. Are you an expert in something? Could others in your industry benefit from your knowledge? Your network can help to endorse you and shine a light on your work.
Consider a mentor.
Who do you know in your organization who seems to get recognized often? What are they doing to get noticed? I suspect we can all think of someone who is a great promoter of their work. They are seen as innovative. They get called upon to present their ideas internally within your organization and externally at industry events. Consider asking this person to be a mentor and to share ideas with you about how you can do your own self-promotion.
That old saying “the squeaky wheel gets the grease” is still very true. Those who are good at promoting their work and their value to the organization tend to get the promotions or the exciting work assignments. If you are the quietly competent type, consider stepping out of your quiet space and showing those around you what you’re good at and the value you add. Take a little of the spotlight for yourself.