Get recognition for your work
Imagine constantly being between a rock and a hard place. Balancing receiving orders and issuing requests. Being responsible, but not a decision maker. Managing subordinates and dealing with temperamental bosses.
Sounds pretty exhausting, doesn’t it? It is, and it’s what middle managers go through on a daily basis. This is why every once in a while, every middle manager must stand up for his rights. Here are some ideas on how to do that.
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go”, said a line from a famous book (yes, the Bible). In the context of this article, the “I” refers to yourself. In order to lay down your path, you should first know what your destination is. How else would you be able to choose the optimum route, if not by pinpointing what the objective is? Hence, the first step in getting you closer to reap that recognition is figuring out two things: what exactly does it mean to you, and who do you need to receive it from.
Recognition can mean different things for everyone, so take a bit of time to define what shape does it have to take in order to satisfy you. Some might enjoy bonus pay, others might find greater pleasure in receiving an “Employee of the Month award”. Some might simply look for a public pat on the back at a company luncheon. However, when defining what recognition means to you, pay attention to the difference between what you want and what you need. As the song goes, “when you get what you want but not what you need”, you might find yourself right where you’ve started.
“Ask, and it will be given to you”, said another verse from the same book. When it comes to seeking recognition at work, this piece of advice is as good as they come. One of the common mistakes among middle managers (and not only them) is waiting for something to happen and then being frustrated or sad that it didn’t. Stop making assumptions about what should happen and make it happen instead.
One of the ways to do so is by scheduling appointments with the key decision makers (such as a board of directors) and sharing your hard work with them. Whether it’s a strategy that you put in place, or you’re just giving them a development status update, don’t be afraid to showcase your efforts. Don’t diminish, but don’t exaggerate facts; present accurate and concise data, and demonstrate the positive effects that it had on the business.
Recognition can also be regarded as the employer’s permanent care over his employees’ needs. So whatever you need, be it extensive training, regular evaluation, feedback, a raise, office resources, personal resources and so on, make sure to voice these requests. And not only to voice them, but to address them to the competent party that can accommodate these requests. Being offered the proper tools to do your job is the first stepping stone towards recognition at work.
3. Lead by example
“Set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity”, says the same holy tome. You’re fully aware what it means to be at the receiving end. Piling up frustration because you feel underappreciated at work. Making a task out of seeking recognition. It can be tiresome, but it can also be translated into a solid understanding of how great it feels when one is being acknowledged. As another building block for paving your way to recognition, try starting the positive chain of events yourself. You be the one offering gratitude to both your fellow managers and employees. Giving appreciation will show others how you function as a part of the company, what are your expectations, your principles. Plus, it will make people feel better around you. And we guarantee it will also give your self-esteem a boost.
4. Have an ace up your sleeve
We couldn’t find a Bible verse on having an ace up your sleeve, but we did find this: “So roll up your sleeves, put your mind in gear [...]”, which basically means going the extra mile when it comes to your work. If all else has failed, you can start thinking about visibly displaying your value and what differentiates you from the others. For example, you can do some extra-research for the upcoming meeting and sprinkle it with that additional data that no one had in mind. Also, anticipating a bundle of questions and being prepared to answer them accurately will put you in a good light that can only be followed by expressions of appreciation.
Between unpredictable work patterns, keeping a fast pace with tight deadlines, a broad scope of responsibility, mentoring and coaching other staff, long working hours, and many more, middle managers deserve bursts of appreciation for all their hard efforts. Any company should implement this behaviour among its employees.