Do you want to be admired and respected by your colleagues, recognized by senior leadership for who and what you are? Do you want to be known throughout your universe as a go-to person, as a hero amidst the minions?
Then solve a problem. Stand up and show someone how to get things done. Clear the pathway; support someone’s idea, save a step somewhere. Do what it takes to cross the finish line. It's a target-rich environment out there, so pick something.
Just do it
It's not hard, really. It's a matter of thinking not so much of yourself first and foremost, but of a greater value that is broader than yourself - and of focusing your attention on getting the results that help the department, the team, the business. It's called a giving of yourself. Of extending yourself. But at the same time you can benefit in return.
All too often what we see from many employees at all levels of the organization is an effort to be the star, the success story, even at the expense of someone else. "Look at me," these eager A-types seem to shout, "look at what I have achieved." These are folks who seem to have missed reading the memo on team effort. These are the "selfies" of the workplace.
We all have them in our organizations. They surround us. And don't we resent them?
Here's a thought, though. Isn't it better to be lifted up (reward, recognition, the pointed finger, etc.) by someone else, then to be constantly trying to push yourself up there? Doesn’t that ego rush get a bit tiring, what with the constant pressure of looking over your shoulder to gauge the competition? Do you suffer from periodic stress headaches, where the muscles at the back of your neck tighten to stone? Are you sleeping well?
Now picture yourself receiving that award, with the accompanying recognition, spotlight, accolades etc. Nice feeling, isn’t it? A proud moment.
Not all recognition is the same
I think it does make a difference in how one gets recognized. I suppose that there are levels of self-satisfaction, but the highest must be when you're lifted on someone else's shoulder. When you hear the cheer of the audience. Self advertisement, political deal-making and a passive resistance that attempts to hold others back simply cannot provide the same level of genuine personal satisfaction. Because deep down you'll know that you cheated to get there.
And others will know it too.
Think about someone whom you really admire, in whatever field of endeavor you like. Chances are it’s a person who has accomplished something, delivered the desired results, made something of themselves. They stood up for what they believed in. They meant something. Likely that person you admire so much isn't someone who took shortcuts, pushed others aside, ignored the call for help or otherwise kept their focus solely on the mirror.
Success can be fleeting, especially if built on thin ice. So why would you want to taint yourself, like success with an asterisk?
Of course you wouldn't. But now reflect a bit on how you practice at your relationships at work. Do you admire only yourself, and act accordingly, or can you spruce up your act and become more of a team player? Can you start using the word "we" more than "I"?
Naive? Perhaps I am. But I think we need more heroes out there, more decision-makers, more team players and more people willing to make a stand for what they believe in.
But that’s just me.
Chuck Csizmar CCP is founder and Principal of CMC Compensation Group, providing global compensation consulting services to a wide variety of industries and non-profit organizations. He is also associated with several HR Consulting firms as a contributing consultant. Chuck is a broad based subject matter expert with a specialty in international and expatriate compensation. He lives in Central Florida (near The Mouse) and enjoys growing fruit and managing (?) a clowder of cats.
Creative Commons image, "A.Jackson statue," by dbking