The question was:
How can I get recognized by my customers and manager(s) when I am working on long-running projects (maintenance projects, for instance)?
This has been one of the most often asked questions in my mentoring discussions. Getting recognition for your work is quite essential for your growth in the company.
For one I think that it doesn’t matter whether you work on long-term or short-term projects, the following points will work.
What is given, and most of us often forget this, is the fact that we have to constantly sell the value we bring to the table to the company, and to clients we work with. With everyone being too busy with work it is very easy to take someone’s work for granted (do you get noticed only when you make some mistake?).
Look at what happens in the most fundamental relationship: when is the last time you wholeheartedly thanked your parents for doing all that they have done for you? Yup 🙂 we tend to take things for granted. Not much different at the workplace either.
Showcasing our value, in other words, selling ourselves, is not a bad thing though. We need to be subtle about it and not come across as someone blowing his/her own trumpet. Here are my top three points – of course not covering the fundamental, which is to ‘be good at what you do’.
1. Look around and identify inefficiencies.
Provide insightful suggestions for improving current practices, processes, artifacts and offer a willingness to work on them. Back your suggestions with some kind of proof (case study, industry findings, etc) and you are likely to be given go-ahead.
2. Praise good work done by others (including your manager) publicly.
Human beings are built to reciprocate – soon enough people will see your good work and appreciate it.
In her now hugely popular post in Forbes.com Megan Brio writes about 5 ways to recognize your talent at the workplace – ways that you can inculcate in your daily work to give worthy praise to deserving team members. Employee recognition, Positive performance reviews, Social connection with your team, Setting expectations (Pygmalion effect), and Recharging your workplace culture are the ways in which you can bring about a positive change around you, and get noticed for that.
Remember that senior executives love employees who demonstrate their commitment to the company’s growth, more so when it is slightly outside of their expected sphere of influence.
3. Be seen as a giver in the organization.
Genuinely help others – peers, subordinates, and even higher-ups (that VP you bumped into during coffee break might need help for his new proposal similar to one of your projects). Good deeds pay off at unexpected times. But do not do them with an expectation of returns.
Lastly, no matter how true you are to your role there will be situations that will not be to your liking. Jennifer Winter in one of her articles featured in Huffington Post shares a couple of good examples from her own experience (I’m sure it will resonate well with all of us 🙂 ) and offers tips to get recognition at workplace.
Hope you will have got a point or two here that you can apply in your own role as a project manager.