I’m sharing a guest blog that has great advice on becoming re-engaged at work.
– Coach Wolfgang
At the end of 2014, I was denied a promotion and received a paltry raise. My boss said she appreciated my work and that I achieved my goals but her hands were tied on giving a higher raise or a promotion. My reaction was to quit on the spot. I had put in many 60 hour weeks, produced strong results and took on many projects that were undesirable. Clearly, I felt wronged and wanted to play my strongest hand: to quit.
Here’s the thing: if I quit then my boss would have a challenge filling my shoes from a capacity perspective but not from a skills perspective. I was being productive but wasn’t demonstrating my unique value. I realized that quitting wasn’t a very strong hand. Instead I needed to make myself indispensable from both a capacity and a skills perspective. I had the skills but needed to show them to everyone.
In order to demonstrate my skills, I decided on two actions:
- I would determine the business goals I wanted to accomplish and get her buy-in to work on them.
- I would tell my boss that I expected a promotion at the end of the year if I were to achieve these goals.
Here’s the most important part: choosing the goals. One day I picked my head up and realized that my boss was giving me tasks based on objectives she wanted to accomplish. When I thought about it I easily figured out her list of objectives. I realized that I was really working towards her goals those this whole time.
Armed with this insight I went to her and said, “These are the things I want to achieve and I want to partner with you to accomplish them.” The key was to define these objectives in a way that my skills and value would be demonstrated when they were achieved. I told her that I felt like I was getting a lot of tasks from her and I would rather partner with her to understand what steps were needed to achieve our mutual objectives. My boss agreed that if I achieved these objectives then I would be operating at a more advanced level then where I sit today.
I don’t know how this will end. Regardless, I will have made my expectations clear and I have set out a definitive way of measuring my success. If I do it right then I’ll show everyone what I am capable of: more than just capacity. Then I will have a much stronger hand to negotiate with.
What’s ironic about this experience is the way that it has changed me and my impact. For example:
- I am excited about solving these problems and achieving these objectives. I’m engaged so much more in my job these days.
- My boss has already commented that she likes how I am being assertive and leading the way in some areas.
- My eyes are open to new challenges and objectives we should take on. I’m sharing them with my boss and she is bringing me into more important, strategic conversations.
This is the story of my recent career path and how I’m negotiating better but also how I’m taking the initiative and reaping many benefits. I hope it helps you see how you can do the same thing at your job. I’ll be looking for your questions in the comments section below – happy to answer them. Thanks for reading.