Are you giving your all at work but not seeing the appreciation you expect?
3 habits that might be getting in the way
It’s a common scenario. You give up your evenings and weekends to push that project over the finish line. You eat lunch at your desk (if you eat at all) to make sure you’re available for that call back. Even when you aren’t actively working, your mind is combing over the details of your day, to make sure you didn’t let anything slip through the cracks.
And when that big project comes through, or you catch that big fish sale, you are treated to a “hey, good work” from your manager—and not much else. Lather, rinse, repeat.
One of the most frustrating experiences in your professional life is to give it your all and not see appreciation in return.
It can feel very powerless and make you question your own value. It can suck any joy from achievement out of our souls like a vacuum.
There are many reasons why this could be happening—but you can’t control them all.
Here are 3 habits that might be getting in the way of getting the appreciation you want.
1. Are you being silent?
It’s easy to assume that you are being seen for what you are doing. And most of us are loathe to talk about our accomplishments so we aren’t seen as bragging or arrogant.
But since most people are self-focused—meaning, trying to win their own appreciation from others—they may not be seeing everything you are doing and the magnitude of your wins.
So how can you make your accomplishments seen without being seen negatively?
Make sure you are using any updates you provide to management to your advantage.
If you have to track that in a regular cadence, why not ensure it tells a good story?
Anything that you have done to impact the bottom line, ensure that it makes it to your weekly update.
Not an update-heavy culture?
Give your manager an “update” email.
Assume that your manager is busy, and help them by clearly articulating your accomplishments on a regular basis.
Sharing your compelling information and accomplishments makes their life easier, giving them something to immediately use when needed with their manager.
And if nothing else, you’ll have a great repository of your achievements for updating your resume.
2. Are you being modest?
Some people would rather stare into the sun with a pair of binoculars than talk about what their own accomplishments.
This is especially prevalent in women, who are socialized early in life to build consensus and team.
If you find yourself deflecting a compliment with “well, everyone helped” or “oh, it was nothing”, you’re part of the problem—and the other person is left with the impression that everyone did help and it was nothing.
There’s nothing wrong with taking credit when it is due to you.
The next time someone says something complimentary to you, practice just taking a short breath and replying, “thank you”.
Certainly, you can share how others helped along the way—which makes your coworkers happy—but only after you’ve accepted the compliment yourself.
3. Are you overdoing it?
Have you ever looked around you and realized that no one was putting in the hours you were, but they seemed to be as successful, or at least, seen as successful?
You’re online late reworking that presentation again, but you everyone else’ IM button shows “Away”? You’re checking your email over the weekend at your kid’s game, while no one else is responding?
Chances are, you’re overdoing what’s required to get the job done. More hours don’t necessarily mean more success or more recognition. Sometimes it just means more hours. And that doesn’t lead to appreciation.
How do you know the difference?
Go through your list of work items and make two columns.
In one column, put all the projects or assignments that will require your best attention and performance. Put those in one column.
Now take the items that “okay will be good enough to get it done” and put it in the other column.
Which column is bigger?
If you are like most people who do too much, the first one will be.
Don’t stop this exercise until the first column is about 20% of your work and the second column is 80%.
When you get your priorities in order, not only will you have more time and energy to devote to what really matters, your work will still be your best where it needs to be. This will help you bring your daily workload back into a reasonable perspective.
Reflect on these habits and incorporate these tips where you can.
This should get you on your way to more appreciation at work and more perspective on how you can manage balance in your workday.
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