If there is one universal truth, it’s that it’s nice to be recognized at work and be appreciated for what you do. It is even better when you are ultimately rewarded for it. But sometimes it seems like, no matter what you do, you can’t get noticed by anyone. This can be incredibly frustrating. Why is it that some people effortless seem to get positive attention in the workplace, even though their work is no better than yours? It could be possible that you are unconsciously undermining yourself. There are certain kinds of behavior that, although seemingly small, can really hurt you in the workplace. To get rid of them, you first must learn to recognize them in yourself. After you are consciously aware of this behavior, you can mentally call yourself out every time it happens. Soon, these small ways of undermining yourself will be a thing of the past! So what are the 3 ways to stop undermining yourself at work?
Waiting to speak up until you have learned everything
This can be especially difficult when you are starting in a new job or position, although it can crop up at any stage of a career. It can be tempting to wait until you know the ins and outs of a job before you decide to contribute with ideas or feedback. But the reality is that you don’t need to know everything to be asking insightful questions about why things are done a certain way. By offering a suggestion about improving things or helping to solve a problem the team is facing, you’re only offering another perspective/way to look at things. I completely understand the fear of being told your idea may not work.
Criticism can be tough, especially when you are not yet comfortable enough in a position to take it gracefully. Try to look at it this way: if you offer a suggestion and it gets shot down because there are things you weren’t aware of, now you know! It’s not a big deal. I find that as long as you’re being thoughtful, offering your opinion is always worthwhile. It also can get you noticed!
Assuming your boss knows everything you’re doing
You have one boss. They have many, many employees. Even if you feel that you are doing your best to stand out, it can still be difficult for a boss to zero in on your accomplishments without any prompting. By using one-on-one meetings, email updates, and other forums acceptable in your organization, you can make sure your boss is aware of initiatives you’re working on, the problems you’ve solved, and where you are helping others. It’s not just about getting the “credit”, although that is important.
It is also about being transparent about how your time is spent and how you are utilizing it. If there are achievements that are coming from your boss’ team, they’ll definitely want to know. Remember, your performance is also a reflection on them, so make sure they’re informed. One nice thing about this is that, once you get your boss’ attention for something positive, it will be easier to get it in the future!
Waiting for permission to do something
This is a very similar to the first behavior I pointed out above. Don’t believe your role is limited to a certain level or scope of work just because of your job title or responsibilities. Never assume that you can’t be doing more or contribute more. Try involving yourself in projects that look interesting or starting one that you think would be worthwhile. If you’re unsure about it, just ask.
You’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that managers are happy to hear that you want to take on more responsibilities and that you’re willing to challenge yourself. Those are the marks of a promising employee! Your managers may not know about specific skills or interests you have, so proactively communicate these things to them. If you are on their radar, you never know when your name will pop up in relation to a new project or position.
The bottom line is that you should never set yourself up for disappointment during review season or promotions by undermining yourself at work. Do more to ensure your value and contributions are known to your managers and you will find that, suddenly, you are the one who is getting all of that positive attention!