Sometimes people don’t seem to notice what you’re doing, or even that you exist. Their attention is distracted, caught by the fad of the day.
Your job hasn’t changed, or the importance of the outputs but you no longer feel valued; your efforts aren’t recognised and your outputs are ignored.
The only thing to do is keep your head down, maintain your focus and keep doing your job. If you let your guard down or relax your standards you will be noticed for the wrong reasons.
Keep heart and stay disciplined. Your dogged determination and pride will see you through. Your efforts will be rewarded, maybe not today, but eventually. Don’t chase the glory, bide your time and work towards it.
Reward requires recognition. Recognition requires attention. So, what do you need to do to get attention at work?
I’m obviously talking about positive attention here. Negative attention is counterproductive. If you’re looking for a reward, positive attention is the way to go.
There are some basic criteria for positive attention seekers:
- Show up:
If you’re not there you can’t make a positive impact. In reality it’s more than just showing up. In most organisations it also matters when you show up. You don’t have to work all hours, but being the last one to show every day probably isn’t the best idea.
- Do your job:
If you regularly need to be prompted to do your job, you’re probably not heading in the right direction. Be low maintenance. If you want to be described as reliable, trustworthy, hardworking, etc. you need to start by taking care of your own business.
If you’re not exactly sure what your job is then it’s not such a basic problem, but it’s still a problem. Ask! It’s also a problem if you think you know, but other’s have a different view. Again, ask!
I said they were basic criteria, but many people fail on them. Before moving on to the “advanced” list, give yourself an honest appraisal on these. If you don’t pass with flying colours, I’d focus on this short list before moving on.
- Be positive:
There’s too much negativity around. People like interacting with positive people. If you’re positive, you will have an unfair advantage over the majority of your colleagues. Look for the bright spots. Think solutions rather than problems. Smile!
- Stand out:
Understand which aspects of your role are the most important and focus on improving them so you do outstanding work. There are lots of other factors in play, but ultimately this will be the clincher. Don’t expect to get the positive attention you desire without it!
It’ll help if your boss has a common view of what’s important. If you’re not sure, ask. If you need help to do an outstanding job (training, more people, better tools, etc.), ask.
- Don’t duck the tough stuff:
From time to time, you will encounter challenges. Don’t be afraid to take them on. Someone has too. If they always get passed up the chain, it will undermine your good work.
If you need to, ask for help. Come with ideas or suggestions. Be willing to play your part in addressing the issue. Be willing to do more than your fair share if necessary.
- Value the attention you get:
Make the most of the time you get with your boss. Prepare for your interactions. Treat their time with respect. Make them as valuable as possible. Be grateful.
- Put yourself in their shoes:
If you are able to effectively think about things from your bosses perspective you’re more likely to get things right more of the time. Consider the situation, the context, recent events, their mood, before engaging. Be sensitive. It may not always feel like it, but the are people too!
- Do good things consistently:
If you really want to seal the deal, consistently do good things. Even better, consistently do great things! In time, consistency will bring attention. It will take time. Consistency itself is remarkable and will get recognised.
Hopefully some or all of these will help! If you genuinely think you’ve earned it, and the attention isn’t forthcoming there may be bigger issues at play, but you’ll be able to look yourself in the mirror and say “At least I tried!”.
Why is it we tend to come down hardest on the people that do the most to help us, the people that will rather than the people that should?
Just because they always do what you ask of them, you expect more. The workload becomes increasingly imbalanced. Those who do, do more. Those who don’t, avoid the work and the weight of expectations.
It’s hard to break the habit. It requires more of us too; to distribute the work evenly, to battle against the inertia. Things will take longer, need to be checked more thoroughly, require more re-work,
The alternative of course is to recognise the work that is done. Reward people disproportionately. Make it worth their while. If some people are special, make them feel that way. Make the others envy them, strive to emulate them, then give them a chance to grow. Make it right!