In today’s competitive environment it is critical to ensure that you are visible to senior management and that your accomplishments are top of mind. One of the biggest mistakes people make is that they assume someone will notice all the hard work they have done, “my work will speak for itself”, “my boss should be noticing this stuff!” Don’t expect other people to manage your career, it is your responsibility and if you don’t manage it you will get passed over for promotion or worse, become invisible, overlooked, your self-esteem will suffer, and you’ll become bitter and eventually your work performance will suffer. This could lead to other things; possibly performance management or being fired. You may feel unsatisfied, pursue another job only to experience the same thing over and over again.
So how can you self-promote and stay on the radar screen at work without sounding boastful or full of yourself?? Try these 6 tips.
#1. Focus on the needs of your boss and the company goals. Be proactive and book 15 minutes with him/her but be prepared. Remember they are super busy so a 15 minute meeting is something they can probably squish into their busy day. Write down 5 key questions to ask that focuses on goals and deliverables this quarter. What does excellence in your role look like? What are some ideas your boss has to accomplish these goals? What are the impacts if goals are met or not met, how does she/he see you contributing to this, what has been done so far? Take notes.
#2. Send a thank you note after the meeting and indicate you will provide a progress update in 30 days.
#3. Plan your week. Write out 3 key outcomes or deliverables relative to this goal every Monday and on Friday write out your results, accomplishments and progress. This then becomes a work diary or brag book. You can use this in a variety of ways: a). notes to use for your 30 day progress report, b). accomplishments for your mid-year or year-end performance review – send these to your boss to help her write your review (she will love you) c). use these to update your resume, prepare for an interview or prepare for the promotion interview you will definitely get!!
#4. Know your boss’s style. Is she a big picture person or is he into the details and facts? Are they high energy or low key? Are they an introvert or extravert and spend some time understanding what that means. How does each person use their energy and what they need in terms of communication? Taylor your style of communication to their style to build rapport.
#5. Send out the 30 day report. Ask for feedback. Has the report been helpful, what would your boss suggest you change? Are the tasks on track? Has anything changed? Are there any other pressing priorities? Repeat steps 1 – 5 every 30 days and make any necessary adjustments.
#6. Ask for what you want. If you want a promotion or another job tell your boss. She doesn’t have a crystal ball and don’t expect her to read your mind. This isn’t fair. Most bosses want to be a good leader so help her or him to be that for you. Don’t expect that someone is just going to walk up to you and offer you a promotion. You have to ask for what you want in your career, in your life and in your relationships. If you ask you have at least a 50 % chance of something happening and if you don’t ask you have 100% chance of nothing happening!
Questions to ask could be “How did they get ahead?” “What do they feel you are doing well and where do you need to improve?” “What would they recommend you do differently?”
All of the above focuses on the needs of the company and your boss while showcasing how you are contributing to those goals. This keeps you visible, it develops rapport and it keeps you engaged with your boss without the need to say how great you are. You are simply telling the truth about what you did to contribute to this goal. It’s a way of indirect bragging but keeps you humble because you are focusing on the end goal and the task.
Remember – proactively manage your career. The extra time you take will be worth the investment!!