It’s not always easy to get credit for your work. You may be putting in long hours and producing outstanding results, but if no one knows about it, you won’t get the deserved recognition and chances are that you might be passed over for promotion.
The key to getting credit for your accomplishments is to effectively promote your efforts and let others know what you’ve done – whether it is your past projects, your current work, or even the very ideas that helped your organization.
One of the common reasons why people don’t get credit for their work is because they are toiling behind the scenes and hope that their work will speak for itself. They feel speaking about their work would be bragging. That’s when others swoop in to take credit when it isn’t due for them. Most people, including your bosses, are so busy with their own work that they don’t have the time to keep track of what you are doing. So you need to make them aware of what you’re working on and what you’ve accomplished.
You’ll come across two types of people who steal credit for your work. The first type of person will come in at the very end and take all the credit, even though they did minimal work. For example, you’re working late nights to create the deliverables and meet the deadlines while your colleague is busy updating your managers about the project status over phone, and even ends up mailing your deliverables to the client through his/her outbox. Guess who gets the credit for your work.
The second type of people take more credit even though they only worked as hard as you did. You can’t really blame such people. They’re simply doing a better job of communicating it to the right audience.
The problem is that such people can create a perception that they did all the heavy-lifting, and the entire project was their brainchild, when it’s far from the truth. Unfortunately, this can cloud the judgment among decision-makers, when it comes to appraisals and promotions. It’s also difficult to change this perception once it’s established.
Here are seven ways to rightfully take credit for your work
- Assert your influence proactively – Keep others informed about your work and contributions. People are too afraid and subdued when it comes to talking about themselves, their skills, projects, and accomplishments. It’s not bragging. It only leaves room for others to take credit that’s due for you.
- Project yourself as an authority – Share your knowledge openly with others, from a ‘being helpful’ angle. This way you won’t come across as a ‘know-it-all’. Believe in yourself and trust your knowledge. People will begin to respect and rely on your inputs and advice. As it helps others succeed in their projects, people will spread the word about your expertise and even recommend seeking your opinion.
- Let others know about your work – Share what you’ve done to make your project a success – starting from your ideas, every step of the way till the final results. If you’re silent, others will step in and take responsibility for what you’ve done. You can begin by asking others about their work, as you bump into them at the cafeteria or at the lunch table. When they talk about the challenges they’re facing, you can describe what you did in a similar project to move forward.
- Share your contributions – Look for opportunities to present your contributions to a wide range of people in your organization. For example, you can create a case study of the key learnings and accomplishments of your project and present it in conferences, expo’s or office outings. This will increase the visibility of your contributions, compel others to appreciate what you know and also change the way they see you.
- Look for projects that you can lead – Every company has a pipeline of upcoming projects. Seek out projects that you can own completely, so you can put your name on it. You should be the one responsible, the one in-charge of leading it. It doesn’t matter whether it’s big or small. Just ensure that you regularly update the decision-makers about your progress and challenges. This way, if you face any hurdles, they can advise you how to proceed.
- Don’t stay behind the scenes – It might seem tempting to work in the background, because if the project fails your name won’t be dragged into it. However, if you want to be successful, you need to be at the forefront. Also, avoid the tendency to crawl back into your comfort zone or leave things halfway, once you’ve taken the initiative to lead your project. See it through till the end.
- Work with your boss – Reach out to your supervisor to take up additional roles and responsibilities. This will help you gain more experience and position yourself for a promotion. The key is to take things off his plate so he can do the same for his boss.
Wrapping it up
Start working towards building your personal brand at the workplace. Pick one upcoming project and figure out strategies to take its ownership. As you’re working on it, proactively communicate your progress to the key stakeholders. And when you’re successful, take the credit where it is due.