Seven Lessons to Get Recognition at Work

The first decade of twentieth century was crucial in both science and invention. Albert Einstein had presented his ground-breaking theories of relativity, and Wright Brothers had invented the airplane. Nonetheless, people didn’t acknowledge those achievements immediately. Einstein had to struggle for a modest employment opportunity as a science teacher for several years. Likewise, both authorities and public thought Wright Brothers were crooks; even press labelled them as liars rather than “Flyers”.

Einstein conceived and put forward his novel scientific concepts in 1905— a year that later came to be known as Einstein’s Miracle Year. After publishing these papers in Annalen der Physik— the most prestigious scientific journal of the time— a youthful Einstein was expecting an instant upheaval in the scientific community. However, what followed was an icy silence. He had to wait and persevere for several years before being accepted as a science professor.

Even Though Einstein’s theories of relativity brought him subsequent fame at the global level, he had to wait till 1921 for wining a Nobel Prize. And that too for his non-glamorous paper on photoelectric effect. Ironically, there was no mention of relativity. This was partly because the concept of relativity was so nonintuitive that it remained esoteric for several years afterwards.

Just like Einstein, during early 1900s, the Wright Brothers made many successful flights, once even exceeding an hour of flight time. They stopped flying for the next three years, however; because they thought their invention could be stolen. Meanwhile, they tried to sell their airplane to the US Army. To their shock, the Army refused to respond, thinking they were some crooks coming up with imaginary ideas.

During the spring of 1908, the Wright Brothers tried their improved airplane design in Kitty Hawk. Some paparazzi reporters watched their flight from bush hiding; the story was published in the Newspapers of New York City and Paris. The subsequent flight demonstrations in France put all doubts to rest and made the brothers overnight stars. The US Army finally gave the brothers a contract to make airplanes for the United States and to train new pilots.

As a student or a professional, you may encounter a situation where you put all your efforts into a difficult task. However, contrary to your expectations, nobody seems to notice what you have achieved. Obviously, this is frustrating. Conversely, there could be times when you perform certain tasks quite unambitiously, and the results are positively perceived, and you get rewarded. This is because you can’t control what people think about you and your achievements.

While you may not be able to control the outcome of your actions, you can try to enhance the chances of getting your work recognized. The following seven lessons are intended to make it easy for you to get recognition for your work.

Lesson One: Set Your Expectations Right

Before expecting from others, start with a self-appraisal. Do some self-reflection. Ask yourself if have you really achieved something awesome? How does your achievement fit in the grand scheme of things? It may seem important to you, but not to your boss. How impactful is the accomplishment for the organization? A candid answer to these questions will help you set your expectations right. 

Lesson Two: Keep Your Boss in The Loop

One simple step to enhance your chances of being applauded at work is to keep your boss in the loop on daily basis. But before doing this, you need to understand his management style. Some bosses like to be updated continuously, some don’t. Try to find a perfect balance where you can provide a progress update without being a nuisance. Lunchtime discussions or annual dinners could be a good opportunity. You may even find a chance to travel with him or her where you can keep them informed.

Lesson Three: Keep Other Team Members Informed

In case your boss is too busy for a daily update, keep your peers informed about the progress of your assignments. This will enhance your group visibility as your associates are likely to mention you and your achievements during informal discussions. In some organizations, bosses take feedback from your peers and if your colleagues don’t know anything, you will lose an opportunity to be recognized. However, while informing your colleagues, try not to be boastful. Rather try to maintain a good rapport with them.

Lesson Four: Recognize Others’ Achievements

You might be working in an organization where recognition is non-existent. Nevertheless, you could be the harbinger of a cultural revolution. In order to promote a culture of recognition, start recognizing others’ achievements. Once the culture of recognition takes its roots, people will start acknowledging your achievements in return.  In this way, you can bring about a long-term change in your organization.

Lesson Five: Volunteer Some Time for Your Boss and Peers

Apart from your regular assignments, take some time out to volunteer and help your peers wherever you can. Helping others will have dual benefits: first, you will learn about things other than your own job, thereby ensuring your own professional development; secondly, your peers may appreciate your help in a group chat, thereby enhancing your own visibility.

Lesson Six: Remain Positive in Your Efforts

Like any other tasks in the world, getting recognition for your accomplishments takes time and effort. People didn’t recognize Albert Einstein until many years after his miracle year, neither did they start praising Wright Brothers right after their first flight.  It took them several years to get acknowledged. It may not be any different for you. Lifelong accomplishment and recognition require perseverance and consistency. Be positive and continue your efforts.

Lesson Seven: Consider Moving On

What if, despite all positive efforts, you don’t succeed in gaining the recognition you deserve. When confronted with such circumstances, some people get discouraged and start underperforming, while continuously blaming bosses and organizational culture. Do not frown under such situation, do not lose hope, and keep your performance level high.  And if you are hopeless about the situation, instead of staying with the organization as a demotivated, underperforming member, consider moving on. The world is full of opportunities; sky is the limit.

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