Sometimes, when you receive frequent negative feedback from someone, it because the person is just inherently a negative person. However, sometimes negative feedback comes from people who just aren’t taking the time to see the good stuff that is right in front of themselves.
If you and your team are doing a great job, but not being recognized, it could be because the right folks are just not intentionally looking at your accomplishments. It might seem like “recognition” is a thing that should just happen on its own, but sometimes it does not. The good news is that you can do something about it.
The solution may seem a little out-of-character to you. I’m sure you already know where I am going with this. Yes. I am actually suggesting that you may want to resort to some shameless self-promotion. Believe it or not, a little shameless self-promotion is one of the habits of highly successful leaders and managers. Unfortunately, somebody might not be taking care of this for you. “If you want something done right…”
The key is to not overdo it. You don’t want people to get the impression that you are a narcissist. So, when you engage in some self-advertising, the best approach is to deliver a little bit at regular intervals.
This is the process:
- Each week, deliver a “team status” report that highlights the accomplishments of the team. (Word document, send to superiors)
- Find 2-3 things that went well
- Try to find and highlight the valiant efforts of one (or more) person (as often as possible). Try to spread the love around too.
- Identify something that seems like a negative, but underneath, is really a positive.
For example: I recall one time, my team showed some great collaborative-effort, to move a difficult fix into prod. It was rough and we made a few mistakes. It initially seemed like a failure of our process, but it also highlighted the resourcefulness of the team and our hard work and determination. When bad things happen, you can turn a loss into a win if you can identify a “lesson learned” and evidence of improvement.
- Identify something to improve upon (to show that your team is self-aware and dedicated to improvement)
- Monthly, do a summary of the team’s accomplishments
- Word doc sent to the boss and her boss
- Maybe cc the team, so they see that you say good things about them.
- Quarterly, do a PowerPoint meeting with highlights for a few managers. Maybe invite managers from other departments.
- Highlight the major accomplishments of this team (milestones, modules completed, work item counts)
- Compare/contrast how things were at the beginning of the quarter vs now, to show how far we’ve come.
- Identify some major challenges that we faced and overcame.
- Identify one or two things that didn’t go right but we will keep working on it.
- Talk about the positive effects of the changes and improvements to our processes.
Two more important notes:
- Always include one negative in your reports, to show that you are being honest, but always end on a positive note: “We are still working on it and next quarter it will show up in the win column. Mark my words.”
- Always keep the spotlight pointed at the team and you will shine in the reflection of them. It is not all about me. When the team wins, you win too.
I’ve applied this process at several places and it turned some foes into fans. Of course, there were always humbugs who hated me even more, because of the extra attention that I acquired for my team. I chalked that up to jealousy and kept going anyway.
Gradually ease into a process like this, and it will improve the image and reputation of you and your team.
If you are busting your back-side and getting a lot done, then you deserve some credit for your wins. You do. The glass is not just half empty. You simply need to point out the obvious remaining water to some folks. Don’t leave something important like that, to chance.