Getting Credit When Credit is Due

By Lisa Cohn, PHR

Have you ever wondered how some people at work seem to get noticed and acknowledged more than others? Maybe you prefer to keep a low profile at work. If so, this strategy may not always be to your advantage, as you may need to become your own advocate! We are not talking about ego here, but about getting recognized and appreciated for what you do. It’s also about not missing out on opportunities for advancement.

Get Noticed.  

First, look for the opportunities to get noticed for your ideas in the work setting, and consider your approach to getting recognized. You may need to push yourself a little. Ask for more responsibility and take on more projects when they are offered. Remember that the people you associate with represent you, so develop a close network of professional peers and subject matter experts. Spend some time getting to know your supervisor on a personal level. Also get to know your boss’s boss, your peers, and other individuals within various organizational levels. Make it a point to attend major events such as annual meetings, local networking events in the community, and organizational supported lunches, breakfasts, and initiatives. Seek out constructive feedback from your supervisor on your work performance. Consider meeting one-on-one with others in the organization to ask them about their personal career paths and how they secured their current roles in the organization.   

Get Credit.  

Now that you are noticed, consider what return you are looking for from the organization. It is important to really prove yourself behind the scenes in your department or division before you go in front of a wider audience. Once you feel comfortable in your role, start to advocate for yourself and tell your peers about successful projects and initiatives in which you played a part, or that you want to expand. Keep documentation about the projects you’ve participated in and your role. This can be helpful when it is time for performance reviews/evaluations or if questions arise about your contributions to the organization.

Also, to get credit, you must give credit to others when credit is due. Remember to recognize any and all members of your team who helped you achieve a specific goal, challenge or objective, no matter how big or small. Leave your ego out of the equation and focus on a formula for advancement and success. Keep in mind that actions and behavior speak much louder than words! 

General Tips: 

  • Agree to take on a new project, even if you are not initially interested in the assignment. 
  • Don’t apologize to your supervisor or team if you have a new idea that is different from the past. 
  • Be your own personal advocate.   
  • Become an advocate in the organization who represents your team, department, or division! 
  • Give credit when credit is due. 
  • Considering seeking out a mentor or mentoring a peer who is new to the organization, which may highlight your organizational involvement to others. This will also show that you want to learn from others, or that you want to directly help others achieve success in their careers. 
  • Pick your battles carefully and decide when you most value recognition from others. 

Although you may not immediately see the results, realize that the proof is in the pudding. For example, I once worked on a small team at a non-profit company, where one of my peers would take all my ideas and claim them as her own. I kept quiet and did not challenge her when she presented the ideas. After seeing the pattern, I began to only share my new ideas during meetings or in a team environment with other people present and where there would group discussion. Eventually, this individual stopped coming to me individually for new project ideas and feedback, keeping these conversations for a group setting. It became clear to my colleagues that I originated the newest ideas as well as the prior ones for which she had taken credit.   

The number one way to get noticed and make your mark in a professional setting is to actively – but appropriately – present your ideas, point of view, and feedback about process improvements. Of course, it is important to recognize that not every idea may be wholeheartedly embraced. Some may be met with uncertainty or resistance, but that’s just part of any process. Instead of feeling defeated, use that opportunity to slow down, take a step back, and better evaluate the situation and the goals you are trying to achieve. That just might lead you to develop an even more brilliant idea to share!   

Lisa Cohn, PHR, is Supervisor of Employer Services at the Ignite Career Center of JCS.

Whether you are new to the job market or a seasoned professional, the Ignite Career Center, a program of Jewish Community Services, can help you go further and get there faster. Our highly experienced Career Coaches provide individuals of all backgrounds and abilities with the customized services and tools they need to stand out from the competition. To learn more, visit ignitecareercenter.com or call 410-466-9200.

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