Will Santa reward you for being a great parent?

I love this time of year. I can basically get the kids to do anything I want, just by uttering the magic words: “Santa won’t come if you don’t do exactly as I say RIGHT NOW.” Then they scurry off to tidy their rooms/get ready for school/stop hitting their sister. It’s the only time I can give the impression of being a really good parent. The feeling is magical, the only thing that would make it better would be if someone actually noticed how well I’m doing and gave me a present or a pay rise. Someone like Santa for example. Of course I am an adult, I know Santa doesn’t really exist and no-one is paying attention to my parenting skills. Yet in the workplace most of us have this weird idea that someone (ideally the boss) will notice all the good things we do and will reward us for hard work and good deeds.

 

But the reality is that no-one really cares all that much. No-one is able to see you all the time and anyway, even if they are watching, they are generally busy managing their own careers and worries.

The only person who really, really cares about your career and development is you. Because it’s your career. So as an early Christmas present to yourself, embrace your adulthood and instead of waiting to be noticed by your equivalent of Santa, start managing your own development and career all year round. The rewards won’t be sitting wrapped up, under the tree next Christmas but they will be there for you to draw on whenever you need.

Tracy Parsons, writing in “Work it Daily,” says far too many professionals today look to their managers to manage their career path for them. She provides these five handy hints in how to manage it for yourself:

1. Set and communicate clear goals

The key to getting what you want is knowing what you want and then setting some goals. Set aside some time to think this through. What do you need to learn this year? Do you have a plan for the next step or do you need to start building one? What do you need to do to keep your professional development going? Do you need to have a couple of interests outside work to develop some new skills? Volunteering for example.  Once you have your ideas in place, be clear about your goals with your manager and monitor your progress towards them.

2. Create an open feedback loop

We all find it hard both to give and receive feedback. But, the ability to listen to honest feedback, the good, the bad and the ugly, is a great skill. So ask people for feedback and say thank you when you get it.  It won’t all be useful, so learn to reflect on it and decide what you want to do about it to develop your performance.

3. Think about your accomplishments differently

Keep your “brag box” up to date – detailing achievements, feedback given and training records. Tracy recommends thinking about your work in terms of NEAR: Numbers, Examples, Achievements, and Results.  She says;

“We all have responsibilities. But the people who stand out talk about their responsibilities in terms of numbers, achievements, and results and they have examples to back it up. What numbers, examples, achievements, and results did you produce this year?

4. Get noticed for the right reasons

Read industry publications, websites and blogs. Share the best articles and have a point of view of your own. Make an effort on LinkedIn. Position yourself as a voice of the industry and a valuable resource within your professional community. When a new project comes up and it aligns with your goals, volunteer for it. Be clear on what you can offer to the project and get involved.  Let your manager or HR team know that you want to learn some new skills or gain new, more advanced experience.

5. Spend time maintaining it

Network, network, network. Don’t be shy and don’t wait until you are looking for a new job. Ray Williams writes, in “Psychology Today”, that “both the social media form of networking and personal face-to-face networking has become a fundamental part of the modern landscape.”

Linda Hill, and Kent Lineback, authors of “Being the Boss: The Three Imperatives for Becoming a Great Leader,” say that you need three types of network:

Operational, for day to day work;
Developmental, a collection of individuals whom you trust and to whom you can turn to for a sympathetic ear, advice and discussion about professional options;
Strategic, to think about the future you want and prepare for and succeed in that future.

So don’t delay – give yourself that gift today.

Margaret Martin offers executive 1-1 coaching to support your development – get in touch to discuss how we can help you

Margaret Cheng

Senior Consultant

Margaret Martin Associates Ltd

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