Are you getting the recognition you deserve at work?

When Ian Brown penned the lyrics to the Stone Roses’ atmospheric anthem I Wanna Be Adored, he was writing about how some people crave recognition and attention for everything that they do. Although we don’t all have delusions of grandeur or expect to be have lashings of praise thrust upon us for the work that we do, it wouldn’t hurt if our bosses gave us the recognition that we deserve, would it? After all, how often do you stay late at work to ensure that a project is completed on time, never miss a deadline and aren’t afraid to get your hands dirty to successfully finish even the worse jobs yet your boss barely gives any thought to saying “Well done” or “Thank you”?

Doing your job effectively won’t get you anywhere unless the powers-that-be are aware of your accomplishments but, most people make little or no effort to market themselves until they think about looking for a new job. And what happens when they move into a new job and find themselves unrecognised again by their new boss, will they look for yet another job or actually take the bull by the horns to ensure that they get the praise they deserve?

If you feel that your achievements at work go unnoticed we will  show you how to market yourself and ensure that you get the recognition you deserve without looking like an attention seeker.

Part 1: What are you looking for and what have you done to get the praise you seek?

  1. Understand what you want

If you look up the words ‘praise’ and ‘recognition’ in the Oxford English Dictionary you will see a number of adjectives, including ‘approval’, ‘appreciation’, admiration’, and ‘respect’. So how do these apply to you in your workplace? Do you simply want praise and a pat on the back for a job well done or are you seeking wider acknowledgement in the form of an official commendation such as an Employee of the Month award or a financial bonus?

  1. What steps have you taken to get the recognition you think you deserve?

I have a theory that the majority of people who are looking for a new job really don’t need a new job at all. Let me explain.

I have interviewed countless numbers of people for various roles in the past and each one of them has sat in front of me trying to convince me that they are the best person for the vacancy I am looking to fill. And how do they do this? Simply by cataloguing their accomplishments with their current or previous employers and demonstrating their obvious skills and attributes. Which leaves me sat wondering, ‘if these people are as good as they say they are then why hasn’t their present employer identified what they bring to the organisation and more importantly, why are they prepared to lose this evidently important employee?’ The answer is obvious: employees seem to ‘expect’ recognition to be forthcoming yet do little to pro-actively encourage it.

Think about it from your boss’s perspective: if you are doing a great job yet your colleague is performing poorly, who do you think will get more attention, you or your colleague? Sometimes the unspoken word is more complementary than the spoken word. For example, have you ever been asked to mentor a colleague, help out on an assignment in addition to your existing workload, or produce a report only for your boss to simply glance over it and say ‘Fine’?  Before you bemoan the fact that your workload has suddenly increased or that you think your boss has disregarded the hard work you have done on that report, have you considered the fact that their actions may be telling you that they respect your ability to assist your colleague, and that they trust and recognise that you consistently produce high quality work so they don’t need to say anything more than ‘fine’? Yes, a ‘thank you’ would be more than welcome but, this level of trust is also a huge compliment – it is just manifested in a different way.

Part 2: Be pro-active

  1. Praise yourself

When recognition is not forthcoming from your boss and your peers it is easy to forget just how good you are at your job. So imagine that you are about to have an interview for a new job, make a list of all the positive things that you have accomplished at work over the last week, month, quarter and year. Now imagine that you will show this list to your potential new boss – what would their reaction be, would they be tempted to bite your hand off and offer you a job straight away? Of course this is hypothetical but it is important that you give yourself credit for the work that you do so as to retain your self-esteem and once you have a record of all the good things that you have done, you will now be able to approach your boss directly.

  1. Talk to your boss

“There are ways to let your boss know what you are doing without bragging or embarrassing yourself,” says Cindy Ventrice, author of Make Their Day! Employee Recognition that Works. Indeed, share the good news that you secured a big deal with your client with your boss (and your boss’s boss) in writing via email, ensuring that you cc all the people connected with the project. This cements your achievements and by crediting those who contributed to the deal, you avoid becoming too self-congratulatory and an attention seeker.

  1. Publicly congratulate colleagues

Don’t be afraid to extend your congratulations to some of your colleagues. Even if you only played a bit-part in their accomplishments, by drawing attention to them will inadvertently shine a light on you and as the saying goes, what goes around comes around.

  1. Voice your opinion at meetings

Team meetings offer an invaluable opportunity to gain recognition among your peers and bosses. Instead of sitting in silence for fear of having your ideas shot down in flames, be brave and speak up. Try to contribute something to the discussion so as to demonstrate your involvement and interest in the business. And who knows, your contribution may just be what is needed to resolve a particular issue or determine a specific course of action.

  1. Congratulate your boss

Depending on your level within the company, consider giving your boss a pat on the back for a job well done. Middle managers in particular are some of the most under-appreciated workers around and it is their job to make sure that you do a good job. So when you make that big sale or finish that major project, acknowledge your boss’s overall contribution. Having a good relationship with your boss based on mutual respect and appreciation will pay dividends when the next round of pay increases and promotions come.  

Marketing yourself effectively in your current job can often rule out the need to look for a new job. Most of us will have seen for ourselves that it is not always the hardest workers or indeed the most successful people who get promoted, but those with the right connections who highlight their achievements – however limited – in the right way. So learn how to promote yourself without coming across as an attention-seeker. After all, if you have a trumpet to blow then blow it.

About yourcareermatters
CareerMatters was founded as part of MacKenzie-Cummins Communications in 2006 by Paul MacKenzie-Cummins MICG (Member Institute of Careers Guidance), regarded as one of the UK's leading career's advice and guidance writers and specialist PR consultant for the UK recruitment industry. Since 2006 Paul has been the leading advice writer for and - the two biggest careers website in the world -tackling all aspects of workplace and management issues, job seeking, career change and hiring trends. In 2006, 2007 and 2008 his writing contributed to Monster winning the Best Employment Advice on the Internet Award for an unprecedented three times beating the likes of The Guardian, Learn Direct and Personnel Today on each occasion. And his work was a runner-up for the same award in 2009. In 2009 Paul was a nominee in the prestigious HR Journalist of the Year Award and Recruitment, Retention & Motivation Journalist of the Year Award. Paul has been commissioned to write more than 500 careers advice and guidance articles for a number of lpublications, from regional and national newspapers to industry publications and various career-specific websites in the UK and USA. Recently, Paul was the Technical Editor for career psychologist Dr Rob Yeung's Job Hunting & Career Change for Dummies (John Wiley & Son, 2007). Dr Yeung is better known as the TV psychologist for Channel 4's Big Brother and the BBC's Who Would Hire You? series. Clients include: MSN Careers (Europe) TheLadders TotalJobs IntaPeople Recruitment Lifetracks/YouthNET MediaSalesJobs The Press Gazette

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