These are all phrases I’ve heard used in succession planning and other discussions over the years. The tragedy is that the folks being described in these conversations work extremely hard, have fantastic results, and are highly committed to the company. The trouble is, they are working too hard to get noticed.
“She’s more focused on her career than the business”
“He’s applied for so many promotions. He doesn’t seem to know what he really wants to do next, he just wants the title.”
“Every time I talk to that guy he tells me how great his team is doing”
“I’m not sure what it is, she’s just a bit over the top.”
Scott Eblin’s recent post, You’ve Got To Speak For the Work, was timely. I had just finished a conversation with a leader facing this same issue. A woman on his team had GREAT results. The trouble is, she was constantly telling everyone. She was getting tuned out, and worse, her results were being ignored because she was seen as needy. Her work to get noticed was backfiring. Scott shares how to “speak for the work” vs. promoting yourself.
Speaking for the work is not about jumping up and down saying, “Hey, look what I did!” You’re speaking for the work, not speaking for you. More specifically, you’re speaking for the work of your team. Part of your job as their leader is to advocate for them and get them the exposure they need to succeed. Another part of your leadership role is to make sure that your boss has the information she needs to successfully brief her boss.
I concur with all his points. Worth reading if you want your work to get noticed I have shared this article broadly.
I also believe a great way to “speak for the work” is to use it as a nesting place to help others to grow.
Four Build a Noticeable N.E.S.T.
N- Notice what is working and why
Channel some of your need to get noticed into a pursuit of continued excellence. The more you understand what is working, the easier it will be to replicate. Stay humble and open to ways to improve you own nest, so that it can be an incubator for future growth and ideas.
E- Extend Support
Extend your support to struggling peers. Share your tools and resources. Offer to lend them your best talent to help with a struggling project. They will likely be grateful and tell others about what you are doing and how it helped. It will give your best talent a chance to get noticed and they will be learning along the way.
S- Sell your team’s contributions
Nominate your team members for formal recognition programs. Use informal channels to provide shout outs. No one will every fault you for giving well-deserved kudos to your team. Work to promote the careers of others, pushing them as soon as they are ready out of your nest and on to the next adventure. They will carry your vision and reputation forward.
T- Talk about the great work of others
Be genuinely interested in the nest building of others. Be the first one to point out other’s accomplishments. Don’t worry about reciprocation. If you are doing great work, it will come.