Diamond in the Rough Pt. 2
A Leadership Freak reader asks, “If you thought you were a diamond in the rough who was not being found, what would you do?”
My response to this question is not directed at the questioner. Please consider them general suggestions.
Gratitude takes you further than groaning. Avoid complaining when you’re not recognized. Whining about your current state won’t improve your current state. Here’s a fact of life, no one appreciates you like you appreciate you. Can we move on?
On the other hand, appreciate appreciation. Express gratitude when others show you gratitude. Rather than saying, “It was nothing,” say, “Thank you for noticing.” You won’t get ahead by belittling your contribution with false humility.
Understand and embrace office politics. Sell yourself. Does this rub you the wrong way? Think of office politics as a system of internal communication, decision-making, and reputation-building. Sell yourself by passing along praise from others. When you receive praise from a client or customer, pass it along to your boss. Don’t praise yourself. Let others praise you.
Develop a personal advancement strategy. Be sure to include relationship building activities. In addition, educate yourself for the next level. Take courses, seminars, and read books that lift your skills beyond your current context.
Get a coach from outside your organization, someone at or above the level you are shooting to achieve. Everyone needs an encourager. It’s better not to use a friend as a coach.
If your current boss is a roadblock go around them. Be professional, do your job, but don’t waste your time working through your current boss. Fighting roadblocks is a losing proposition. You may say, “If I go around my boss they’ll get angry.” So what? What happens if you don’t go around a roadblocking boss?
What are the key components to a personal advancement strategy?
I think going around the boss is very risky. What do you think?
Best advice I got about being noticed:
Offer to help Senior Managers succeed.
He went on to tell me that my IT position could be a powerful one because technology could help get things done – I could pick the managers I wanted to see succeed.
That was transformative advice from my Mentor. You can read the complete story here: http://bit.ly/dnxhKW
Good advice, Dan. Alan is also right, but sometimes that’s not possible. My recommendation: engage a coach who understands how to create an implement a personal action plan, focusing on influencing others who are in a position to help.
Personal advancement is a matter of envisioning where you believe you want / need to go
Then you must closely intertwine your objectives with performing your present accountabilities at or above expectation with the focus on making those around you ( especially those who can advance your agenda and aspirations) #1 look good and #2 make their jobs and accountabilities easier to accomplish.
Personal goals are great and few things happen without them. It is more likely that you will get the support, mentoring and coaching from those around you as well as the most honest feedback on the viability or applicability of your talents and skills at a moment in time to attain the goals you have established when you are viewed in light of the #1 & #2.
You should never go around your boss. Stand shoulder to shoulder, back them up, run interference for them make them look good. If after a reasonable time ( depends on your chronological as well as emotional age) that does not work. Front face the issue and explain your issue. Still no progress Do not go around him/her get an new boss!.
After all your not married and half of the marriages at least in the US unfortunately end in divorce. If advancement is what you really need to be satisfied and feel productive in something you commit over 10 hours a day to and your boss is the real obstacle.
Get anew job while your at it because if you are actually doing all of the things listed above and some one in the enterprise will not grab on to you . . .you have a bigger problem you need a new environment to succeed
Dear Diamond in the Rough:
How lucky you are. A diamond in the rough is full of potential and possibilities. A diamond that is cut and polished is a finished product. It may be valued and appreciated, but its development is finished. It simply moves from setting to setting.
If you are looking for people to help you become faceted and polished, my best advice to you is to volunteer. Inside your organization, volunteer to do the jobs that others don’t want because they may be more challenging or less glamorous – and do them well. The people above you – who need that job done – will notice. If these opportunities do not exist inside your organization, volunteer in your community. Roll up your sleeves and create value by helping others. The organizations you help and the people that run them will see what you can do. Pleople do notice. What you put out there comes back to you. I am not just writing this. I have lived it. I share the story with others when I get the opportunity. You can even find a clip on You Tube expanding the story. Check it out. http://bit.ly/aFPB2W Then go show them what you can do. #
So Dan – that is what I would say to your Diamond in the Rough. Thanks for the opportunity to join the conversation. Happy Friday,
A few ideas that I’d add:
– Highlight your accomplishments and the value you add – but in a way that doesn’t come accross as overly self-promostional. Sound tough? It is! But finding appropriate ways to make people aware of your value is a key to moving up in an organization. A good first step is to make yourself aware: quick, if I asked you what your three biggest achievements were in the last year, could you give a good answer? What if I asked why you matter to the company?
– Help your boss look good – personally I view my boss – and the bosses above – as a customer segment. My job is to help them to be successful and look good. If you can consistently help your boss to be successful, chances are he/she will notice. If he/she is a roadblock today, perhaps this strategy can help to change that (personally I think you’re playing a dangerous game to marginalize your manager).
– Manage your “personal brand” the same as the rest of your work. How’s this for a surprising statement: it doesn’t matter what you do – it matters what people think you do. The point is, people’s perceptions of us is based on what they see us do, and how they interpret that. If we want to be noticed and thought of in a certain way, we have to give people a reason! This does not mean we should create a facade, or be all show and no substance! Rather, it means working to make that substance visible, helping others to see it.
I agree that avoiding roadblocking boss may be a losing proposition and one has to be professional in dealings. Getting coach, building relations and communicating appreciation to boss are better strategy to survive and smoothsail in the organisaiton with roadblocking boss. In theory it looks convincing but in practice it is complexing. Even if you communicate with boss, he or she might take credit of your efforts. You may think in positive way to build good relation, but boss may have definite agenda to take advantage of any work in his favor. Of course, having coach guides you from time to time about what to do in a particular situation. It may be mentoring kind of thing. However, people prefer to have mentor to their boss or superiors who can influence their career. In India, it is termed as ” Godfather”. People generally say and believe that you have to have “Godfather” if you want to suceed. The bitter truth behind this belief is that people who believe this are positioncentric, selfishcentric and can do anything and everything to materialise their interest. Often these people engage in unhealthy practices like backstabbing, backbiting,badmouthing,politicising.criticising and blaming others because they believe it is only the strategy to please boss and get position. They criticize their collegues and adulate superiors.
I think that key components to a personal advancement strategy is to analyse and visualize about your career enhancement in long term. If you can see bright side of your career then stick to it and if you can see dark side of your career then better zoom out your options. If going around the boss can bounce your career up consistently even he has left then nothing wrong in going around. But if it can impact only in short term and no guarantee for long run, because of cultural clash then you have to decide.
I strongly believe in culture. If boss is a cultural builder and he has made difference somewhere else, then it is exciting to be with boss. There exists two forces of culture creation. One is organisational force and one is leader force. Good organisational force often moulds leader to conform with the existing culture, but weak organisational force is shaky that can be easily influenced by leader. So, one has to analyse cultural history before accepting or rejecting boss. Good culture makes all the diference and boss has to follow good culture. So, one need not to worry if cultural history is strong and boss is a roadblocking boss. He or she has to either change or quit.
What are the key components to a personal advancement strategy?
For a personal advancement strategy, I think it’s important to assess your advancement goals, and not to feel that they must adhere to some external, arbitrary plan (a “make partner by 30” kind of mindset). For me, I must also frame my career advancement goals in the context of my family’s life cycle. I hear coworkers (and it usually is women, not to overgeneralize) complain that the ones who no longer have children at home resent the fact that coworkers who do have young children to take care of can’t/won’t work arduous hours. Vice versa, the people with heavier child-rearing demands develop complicated issues when they struggle to balance the two. For me, as it applies to personal advancement, I believe that I may have to ramp up my advancement efforts once my children are older/out of the house — I am willing to make some advancement sacrifices now in order to have face time with my kids.
Stop being in the rough. Don’t be whiny but make yourself public.
“You won’t get ahead by belittling your contribution with false humility”
This stuck to me. False humility is something I totally hate. I like to keep myself around true people, able to speak their minds without much thinking, rather than standing among mindless yesdrones and people contaminating the positiveness of a successful work environment with false humility.
I agree with Joan. Last night I was watching the US Undercover Boss programme and it was featuring the COO of Waste Management Co. At one plant, there was a lady who had worked there for some time and did more than one person’s job. She was the administrator, dealt with payables, receivables, processed payroll and other IT stuff. The COO couldn’t cope with her multi-tasking and when he asked her how she felt about doing all this jobs, her response was like, “For her it’s not about the paycheck increase, but doing everything she can to her best of abilities and then go home and enjoy life with her family rather than complain all the time for recognition” In the end, her accomplishments were noticed, she got promoted, got a hefty pay increase and managed to keep her family home she was about to lose.
I am of the belief that, if the rough diamond maintains the right attitude and spirit, someone even if it’s not the boss will notice and that someone will eventually tell another person and one day the rewards will come. Having said that, I also believe that sitting in the background waiting for someone to come pluck you out is not going to do you any good. Instead get out there and engage with everyone but with a positive attitude.
A diamond is simply a piece of coal that did well under pressure – Anon
When I work with those disadvantaged in life who have experienced setbacks I talk through the statement above with them. Learning through adversity and life pressure creates resilience and casts a glittering reflection for those wise and kind enough to see.
So too with personal leadership – everyone has a message of inspiration to engage the hearts, minds and efforts of others ….. I believe.