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Communication

Pat yourself on the back. With words. Document your amazingness.

Self-Assessment Quiz — True or False:

  1. I know how to write a comprehensive email to my manager that highlights my quarter-end benchmarks.
  2. I think it is important to check in with my manager periodically to inform her of what I’m working on.
  3. I believe in my work and think I deserve praise.

Believe it or not, I’m shy and very introverted. But I chose public relations as my occupation and at the core of my professional career, I’ve been a publicist. Public relations, or the act of promoting and making stuff look goooood, is part of my professional DNA. So early on, in spite of my shyness, I learned the importance of talking about myself, about what I do, and just how generally amazing I can be. It goes with the job turf. You need to do the same, especially when it comes to documenting your amazingness at work. You’ve got to put your accolades in writing.

“Why?” you may ask. Look at it from the perspective of your manager. As a manager, I’m a busy, busy person. I don’t have eyes in the back of my head, I’m not fully clairvoyant, and I’m not Stretch Armstrong. I can’t be in all places at once, even though I, of course, feel like I’m being stretched to do so. What this means is I will generally have a feeling about my team and their great work, but I won’t know everything UNLESS THEY TELL ME!

Now there’s an art to this. You have to be careful not to come across as an “I” person, versus a team player. And you don’t want to come across as a chronic braggadocio either. So, how do you do it?  I’ve managed all types of employees, and I’ve condensed their styles to these three:

Confident Corrine:

Corrine does her work, puts her head down, and knows that she has done a good job. You can decipher this based on her demeanor, her confidence during conference calls and team meetings, and in her work ethic. But you’ll never read or hear her talk about her work because she’s pretty confident (and has her fingers crossed) that others are noticing it, too.

Boastful Brianna:

Brianna does a pretty darn good job, she works hard. She is the first to email her manager about: her project milestones as they occur; that she successfully accomplished an independent task; that she helped the team bring a job to full fruition by heading up the marketing, or that she was happy to present the innovative idea that launched the project the client loved.

WhoDunnit Wilma:

Wilma also does good work, puts her head down, and gets the job done. However, she never shares the specific role she played in a project, so no one knows for sure. They just know they can count on her when the going gets rough. She sits quietly by while her boss takes credit for her weeks of late nights that resulted in the project being delivered on time. She isn’t seeking approval. She simply cares about the work itself because she’s a team player.

Of these three styles, which one lets me know they deserve a raise? Who has provided back up, evidence, and documented proof of their accomplishments and milestones? Yep, Boastful Brianna. As long as Boastful Brianna isn’t annoying, this is the most effective style to adopt because your manager will know what you’ve done every step of the way, and you’ve documented it in an email as well. Be sure you keep an “I’ve Done Good” file in which you toss these documented emails. So, when it’s time for your quarterly and/or end-of-year performance evaluation, you have specific deliverables and dates you can point to that highlight your value.

Use the rest of this month to identify which style you are, how you’re communicating, and how you can up your back-patting game. Concerned about how your manager will receive your “boasting”? Avoid using the word “I” too often, but brand yourself as a strong member of the team. Show that you were happy to lend your expertise in XYZ area to achieve winning results for everyone. But whatever you do, don’t play a passive role in tooting your own horn.

Cheryl Grace is the sassy aunt, best friend, and mentor you’ve always needed in your life. The successful jet-setting, global corporate executive founded the aspirational lifestyle brand Powerful Penny LLC. Her products, workshops and speeches probe, inspire and empower to ensure those who really want to can get to their next level of best. Her blogs on careers, prosperity, relationships, family, looking and living fabulously, and living a five-star life can be found at www.powerfulpenny.com.

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