Being a diligent employee may be holding you back. Why? Because doing your work is the first part. Making sure management sees what you’re doing is the missing piece.
You’ve had your head down, diligently completing your work, but you still aren’t getting that promotion you want. Guess what? The reason might just be … because you’ve had your head down, completing your work.
Nope, you didn’t read that wrong. Being a diligent employee actually might be holding you back. Why? Because doing your work is the first part. Making sure management sees what you’re doing is the missing piece.
This is a lot like the old question: “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a noise?” If you’re doing great work but your boss isn’t seeing it, does it really count as great work? Maybe, but probably not.
One of my clients was frustrated with this same problem. He was a conscientious employee who worked hard to complete all of his assignments on time. He arrived at work early, did his job, and then went home early. He took advantage of his company’s telecommute policy and worked at home several days a week, dialing into staff meetings via conference call.
My client assumed his boss knew what a great employee he was. Then came the shock when he applied for higher-level positions several times — and was turned down each time.
If any of this sounds familiar, then you might be inadvertently sabotaging your chances for a promotion if you don’t do these three things:
Manage up. Doing outstanding work is the first step. But beyond that, you need to make sure your boss sees the contributions you’re making. Get with your manager to agree on your goals, objectives and projects. Create a project list where you track your progress. Then schedule in-person meetings with your boss, so you can provide regular updates on your activities.
Ensure adequate face time. My client was a highly analytical introvert who preferred remaining in his comfort zone, working alone. He did his work in his cubicle and then went home each day, rarely interacting with his boss or with others inside or outside of the department. To gain promotions, make sure you’re spending enough time working face-to-face with your manager and co-workers. And don’t forget to network informally through coffee chats and lunch discussions.
Ask for more responsibilities. Upper management rarely gives promotions to employees who don’t ask for additional responsibilities. Why? Because they’re looking for employees who consistently strive to go above and beyond what’s asked of them and who want to become leaders within the organization. So don’t wait around — volunteer for projects or ask for work assignments where you’ll be able to show off your skills.