All of us have been managed by someone at some point in our career. Many of us are managed today. We all report to someone or some entity no matter what level we are in an organization.
Also we all know what it means to do a good job but the recognition of that good job is only known by our immediate manager.
For some reason when the presentation was complete or the project was done, our name wasn’t on any of the slides or project contributor’s page. Our work and the associated recognition for our contribution had been hidden.
Now it doesn’t mean that your manager is/was acting with malice (well maybe/maybe not), but what it does mean is that who knows about you in the organization and ultimately your career often gets lost in the shuffle. You can especially have challenges if you have a manager who is not known to have a reputation or track record of developing talent in your organization. The ironic piece is that they are always good at getting the right people to get the work done.
As the saying goes, “Good talent is hard to find.”
But they seem to always find that good talent. How do they do it time and time again? Don’t know. But what is known is that it doesn’t help you with your professional development or career aspirations.
So what should you do if you have a manager that values your work and what you are able to do, but not necessarily an advocate for your development much less your career?
HAVE A NETWORKTHAT WORKS FOR YOU: People in your organization should always know who you are whether they are in your specific area, another group or function. Spend the time to develop your network before you need it to enable your career success. It has been shown to be a powerful career enhancer. Once you develop the right type of network, those in it will often come to you unsolicited. They start looking out for you before you may even need them.
KEEP YOU SKILLS CURRENT: It is important to ensure that your skills are up to date so that when you see other opportunities that are open you can position yourself to be ready. Ensure that you are viewed as one of the best candidates if not the best candidate. Also don’t forget to always learn new and different skills which will further position you favorably and give you the advantage.
LEARN TO LEVERAGE YOUR LEADER: Take the time to ask your leader to introduce you to people in your organization. This will give you the time to meet them and share who you are and what you do. They may not see your name on the project, but if they know what you do in your leader’s group, they will more than likely know that you were a part of the work in some shape or form.
JOIN PROFESSIONAL GROUPS: To become known in your organization, join one of the professional networks within your company. Seek projects that you can volunteer for that others in your company will see. Position yourself for others to see you contributing and in action. Don’t forget about external professional networks either. They can help others outside your organization know about you and your work as well.
SEEK A MENTOR, MORE IMPORTANTLY A SPONSOR: Mentors are great as they can give you sound advice. But finding someone who will put their career on the line and speak on your behalf is paramount. They are called sponsors. Having a relationship with someone of this nature can help you navigate, get noticed and supported.
TAKE TIME WITH YOUR DEVELOPMENT PLAN: We often take a lot of time with our goals and objectives. Our development often comes last if at all. Take just as much time with your development as your goals and objectives. Having the right development plan that includes the right work can pay off. Make sure that you and your manager agree to goals and objectives that will provide you visibility to others within your organization or involve you accomplishing goals that have to involve the work of others as partners with you.
OWN THE BUSINESS OF “YOU”: Select an area of expertise that you want to be known for in your organization. Make it your brand or your signature so that when something comes up in which the company needs your level of expertise or knowledge, you are automatically thought of and called upon. Over time this ensures that others know who you are and may request your assistance or leadership irrespective of your boss.
FINALLY, JUST HAVE THE CONVERSATION: Having the conversation with your manager may not be the easiest, whether their actions are intentional or unintentional. However both you and your leader owe each other to have that professional dialog. Sometimes it just takes bringing something to someone’s awareness or attention for a change to occur. Talk to your leader and let them know of your requests. Enlist them by asking for their help with your career which they should be doing anyway but maybe just need a little help from you.
Sometimes when you and even your leader are focused on getting the task or job done at hand, other things sometimes take a back seat. Make sure that one of those things is neither your professional development nor your career.
I am Francine Parham. My focus is professional and leadership development. I help individuals in the development of the critical skills they need in their careers to be successful in achieving their professional goals. I speak publically about the value of professional networks and networking as well as navigating through corporate cultures. I am also the creator of “Maximizing Your Network!”™, which instructs you on how to build, interact with and maintain your professional network. . Please connect with me at francineparham.com or attend one of my upcoming speaking events.