Today's workplace is not an environment in which to indulge in false modesty. If you allow your talents to be taken for granted, they will be. There is always someone else ready to take any credit that would otherwise come your way.
If you don't want others to take the credit due to you, then you had better watch out. It's a jungle out there. If you don't want to be left behind in the promotion stakes, then you must learn to blow your own trumpet.
Perhaps you are not personally burning with ambition and you may not be personally seeking advancement or glory. Well, that's your decision. But if you are in charge of a team or of a department, you owe it to your staff to take the credit for their efforts and for yours, too. You cannot in all conscience say that it doesn't matter. It may matter a lot to them.
It is part of your job as manager to look after, encourage, and advance the careers of your staff. If you want them to work well for you, you must do something for them -- reward them with praise (where due), with financial recompense (when earned), but above all with the chance to use their talents to the full and to progress in their careers. You have a duty as a manager to help.
So if one of your team does something good, it is up to you to make sure that this is known. If the team as a whole achieves something noteworthy, you must publicise it. And if you personally have done something exceptional that will light up your team in your reflected glory, then you should take the credit, for their sake if not for yours. Do it within the bounds of decent modesty, of course, but do it. It cannot do them any harm to be associated with a leader who is going places, and it may do them a power of good.
If you and your team have delivered some important project ahead of schedule, make sure this is known by those who matter (your boss, his boss, heads of other departments, etc.).
If you have successfully concluded a tricky negotiation with an important customer, thus saving their business for your company, be sure to tell people. If you have clinched a valuable deal to obtain goods or services at much reduced cost, then do the same.
Don't go around boasting of your achievements, of course. That is sure to make you unpopular. But you can be more subtle. Does your company have an in-house magazine, for example? The editors are bound to be looking for success stories that show the company in a good light. So write them an article.
Is there an opportunity to give a presentation about your department's work at a managers meeting or at a seminar? Take up the opportunity.
If you are in a operational or maintenance type of environment, you have a more difficult task than most. It is not in the nature of your job to be high visibility. It is usually only at times of crisis that others notice you are there. The more smoothly your department runs -- the fewer the waves you are routinely making -- the greater the danger of being forgotten and the more important it is to do something about it.
So don't be taken for granted. Don't let your department be forgotten. Don't become an unknown head of a department of which nobody knows what it does. If you do allow that to happen, then you will be the last to be remembered when new and interesting projects come up, but the first for the chop when cutbacks take place.
Arthur Cooper is a business consultant, writer, and publisher. To subscribe to his mailing list of original articles, go to: www.arthurcooper.com. For business articles, ebooks, and courses, go to: http://www.barrel-publishing.com.© 2005 Arthur Cooper
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