Who doesn’t want recognition for their hard work and contributions? Early in my career I wanted to believe if you worked hard, and added value, you would be rewarded. I wanted to believe in the utopian ideal that hard work, discipline, and contributions were the fuel that propelled you up the corporate ladder. Boy, was I wrong. Trust, though, takes time, patience, and consistency. If you cannot build a relationship with your manager, all that work means nothing. For someone to invest in you, you have to show you are, in fact, an investment. Ask yourself these questions:
Does your boss trust you?
Do your team and your peers trust you?
Have you done a good job to earn their trust?
How would your peers describe you to someone else?
How influential are you within your organization?
The Paradox of Autonomy and Recognition, Communications of the ACM, March 26, 2016
Yes, the boss always wants her subordinates to be trustworthy, forthright, hard working and to get along with others. But, was our boss that way before they became a boss? How is our boss working with his peers and more senior managers? How are they representing our team and themselves when things don’t go well?
The list of questions above is all great in theory, but I always found it interesting that when someone took charge they wanted their employees to act differently from how they had acted. You know, from how they had acted that got them their job. Too many people got their job, as the boss, by practicing all those things that they don’t want their team members doing to them.
Being the boss is possibly the hardest job that exists. While a technical guy at heart, I always stepped up to management because we couldn’t get things done when management, the bosses, were playing the games they played. When we fixed organizations, it was inevitably the habits of bosses and other influential people that had to be changed, or circumvented, for us finally to be successful.
Also see sometimes Maybe We Should Ignore Our Boss
My solution? Try to be the good guy and then hold on for the wild ride. Often a few others would lend me a hand when the jackals leapt on me for the easy kill — because they saw me as being the nice guy and hence safe to go after. I’ve found the best strategy, for me, was to stay honest and objective and not play the games. Yes, I let a great number of opportunities slip out of my reach because I wouldn’t go for someone’s jugular. Yes, I spent a lot of time with knives bristling out of my back that I then just ignored. Luckily, for me, it worked.
How are you balancing between being the person you would want to have for a boss while still reaching for recognition and promotion?