For better or for worse, bosses don’t spend much time thinking about your needs and worrying about to helping you with your career advancement. Bosses, like most people at work, are busy people with their own jobs, their own lives, and their own concerns.
That’s obvious. But the upshot is a harsh reality: your boss most likely has very little sense of what you’re accomplishing or even what you’re doing with your time. If you aren’t proactive about reporting your accomplishments, you’ll never get recognized for your good work.
The Power of One Simple Email
For many people, the thought of being more proactive about sharing accomplishments at work can be daunting and a real turnoff. Eric Barker at his blog, Barking Up the Wrong Tree, provides an elegant solution to this problem that takes minimal effort and doesn’t require you to turn into a loudmouth braggart.
Every week, Eric writes, send one simple email to your boss that’ll make your life better.
Take just a few minutes on a Friday and jot down a simple description of what you accomplished that week. Your boss will be able to recognize the progress you’re making and appreciate not being left in the dark having to wonder whether you’re doing your job.
Become the Kind of Person Who Gets Promoted
To Jeffrey Pfeffer, professor at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, making sure that your performance and accomplishments are visible to your boss is absolutely vital to becoming the kind of person who gets promoted.
As Pfeffer shares in his book, Power: Why Some People Have it and Other’s Don’t, research shows that there’s a disconnect between your performance and your job outcome, including a much smaller than expected “effect of your accomplishments on those ubiquitous performance evaluations and even on your job tenure and promotion prospects.”
Unfortunately, doing your work well isn’t enough. The missing ingredient of a job well done is that you also have to manage how that work is conveyed. In the work setting, where perception becomes reality, Pfeffer reminds us of what we miss out on when we wrongly assume that other people will know about our great work without having to tell them.
What makes Eric’s one email suggestion so powerful is that it turns the loaded act of self-promotion into an ordinary, informative status update that perpetually builds up your credibility with your boss. While others scrabble to ramp up their lobbying for promotions during performance review-time, you’ll already be top-of-mind, without having to gather and tout your accomplishments in the strained atmosphere of a formal review.