photo: Aidan Jones
While you’re watching ESPN’s SportsCenter tonight, take a close look at who’s getting all the attention in the top 10 highlight reel. It’s the guy who dunked on Kobe and the guy who nailed a slap shot from the red line. Basically, the spotlight is on the person who took all the credit for the passes and blocks that led up to that shot.
When it comes time for a promotion at your office, your manager is going through a highlight reel in his head. He’s thinking about all of the great moments when his team participated and had great success. The only problem: You’re not on that highlight reel and, therefore, not getting credit for your work.
You’re the poor sap who was blocking and passing while someone else was making the shots and taking all the credit.
So, how do you put yourself on the highlight reel without looking like a ball hog? Here are six tips to get the cameras pointing at you for a change and help you get credit for your work.
Give presentations when possible
People don’t just remember great presentations and ideas; they remember the people who delivered the message. If someone else is delivering your message, even if they give you credit, they are stealing the spotlight from you.
Instead of handing the work off to someone else, take every opportunity to present your ideas to upper management yourself. People remember good ideas based on where they came from, so you need to make sure when they recall your good idea, they remember that it came from your mouth. This is a really easy tactic to help you get credit for your work.
Send status reports frequently
When it comes to increasing your visibility, the name of the game is repetition. Your manager is busy thinking about a million priorities, and you’re just one of them. In order to get a piece of his mind share, you need to occupy it more often.
Managers want to know that their staff members are getting the job done. Sending regular status reports — even when you don’t have anything incredibly compelling to say — will allow you to stay on your manager’s mind as someone who is getting the job done. It may seem futile or mundane, but in the long run, you’ll get credit for your work.
Get favorable testimonials
Nothing reminds people of how brilliant your last idea was than a third-party testimonial from a customer or colleague who brags on your behalf. Think about the last movie trailer you saw: The studios brag endlessly about what other people say about their film, which helps build its credibility.
A testimonial will not only redirect the spotlight back onto you, it will also endorse the fact that you must be a pretty smart person for making that person so happy. If you really want to add some icing on the cake, have your testimonial-writing comrade send it straight to your boss. At that point, you’re practically guaranteed a slap on the back and a bump in your salary.
Ask for similar successful projects
Your manager isn’t going to remember every last thing you’ve ever done; he’s going to go back to that highlight reel of your sweetest victories. So if you’re going to build a highlight reel, you better make sure you’re loaded up on big victories.
Focusing on projects that you know you’ll succeed in will help build your manager’s confidence in you. That confidence will help shape you into the go-to guy for bigger, more important projects with even more visibility and credit.
Load up on projects around review time
When review time comes, think of your manager like the lead character in the movie Memento: He can barely remember anything that’s happened just a few minutes prior. Your manager is so preoccupied with important things like getting their own raise that they’re too busy to remember everything you’ve ever done.
The time to really work on getting your due credit is right before review time. That’s the time to load up on every visible project you can get your hands on. Don’t worry, you can go back to playing on your PSP in your cubicle after your review, but right now you need to be completely overworked. It’s your job to paint the right picture in your manager’s mind.
Stay visibly busy
It’s not enough to just take on projects, you need to go a step further and actually look busy. When writing your review, your manager is going to grab the most vivid memories he has of your performance, which will of course be the most recent memories.
You want these memories to be filled with you coming in early, leaving late and looking stressed and busy as hell. This is the time to eat at your desk, cover your office with papers and constantly remind people how overloaded you are. Looking busy is just as important as being busy.