Posted by Brian McCullough
This is another post prompted by an Ask Brian question I got via email that was too narrow to post here, but got me thinking along these lines.
A lot of people toil away in their jobs, doing good work, working hard… only to see lesser, stupider people jump ahead of them on the career ladder.
If you find yourself not getting any credit for the good stuff you’re doing, it’s time for a refresher course on that area of office politics known as Getting Credit For Your Brilliance.
1) Don’t Be Shy.
All those jerks who aren’t half as good as you but are the office darlings… they’re not afraid to toot their own horn. You think they’re arrogant for doing it, but clearly a little arrogance works. Claim credit for your good work. When you score big time, don’t be afraid to let others know it.
2) Join A Better Team.
If you want to be a big fish, start swimming with them. If there is a team or a division that has superstar status in your organization, try to get on board. The worst that can happen is that some of their superstar status rubs off on you by association. The best that can happen is you impress the superstars and start getting credit from the credit hogs.
3) Pick A Better Mentor.
Similar to the above. If there is a superstar manager on the way up in the world, that is who you should be tagging along with. Very often, the underlings or the pet team of a superstar manager has some of the superstar magic rub off on them. If you worked closely with the superstar, then you must be like her in some way. People will try to poach you or promote you to get some of your mentor’s mojo. And even if that doesn’t happen, when your mentor becomes the big cheese, chances are she’ll have a plumb role for you.
4) Do Something Unexpected.
So you’re toiling away month after month, getting terrific results time and again, and no one seems to care. Maybe that’s because they have come to expect this level of production from you. It’s ho hum. So switch it up a bit. Surprise people. I don’t mean suddenly stop doing good work. I mean, branch out. Excel in a new area. Pick a project normally outside your ken and find a way to kick ass at that. Solve a problem that has been hanging over your team’s head for a while. Bring a project in unexpectedly early or under budget. Find something that will make people turn their head. Even though it’s just another example of you doing your usual good work, people will take notice because it was so unexpected.
5) Give Credit To Others.
This doesn’t always work. Sometimes people will just take any compliments and sit on them. Still, it’s worth a try. Giving praise to others might prompt them notice what you’re up to and return the favor.
6) Make Your Boss Look Good.
Sometimes the powers that be don’t notice the good work you’re doing because it doesn’t reflect on them at all. If you can stoke their ego a bit, they might start to value your contribution more.
7) Always Be Learning.
The modern business world is a dynamic, constantly changing environment. You never know what The Next Big Thing will be, but if you keep your ear to the ground and are constantly open to learning new things, when The Next Big Thing comes around, you can position yourself as a guru.