I’ve always thought I was best at, and he’s telling me I fall short! He even makes it the center of his critique.”
Having her efforts and skills go unacknowledged made Ellen feel unseen and undervalued, stuck in a thankless role working for an ungrateful boss. “I really felt hurt,” she says. “How could he not recognize what I contribute?”
It wasn’t until a few months after the review, when she heard a career coach talking about the need to actively bring attention to the value you provide, that Ellen realized what had happened.
“I saw there was a very simple reason he had overlooked my role as a connector: I had never told him what I was doing. I’d never mentioned all the people I connected with in the course of the day or the week or the month. I’d just somehow expected him to know. But he didn’t monitor my e-mail, he didn’t stand at my office door watching who came in and out, so he had no way of knowing how many people I was in touch with. I was actually bringing a lot of attention to what our division was doing, but I had completely neglected to let him know.”
Ellen realized she had a problem with Habit 1, Reluctance to Claim Your Achievements, and Habit 2, Expecting Others to Spontaneously Notice and Reward Your Contributions.
But Carrie’s attempts to isolate herself in order to better understand her subject quickly earned her a reputation for being inaccessible and aloof. Her direct reports complained that she failed to give them guidance, while several members of the executive team feared she was withholding information as her predecessor did.
But from almost the first day, she found herself inundated by requests for help and information she was not yet ready to respond to. The people in her unit wanted a clear sense of what she expected from them, and the corporate leadership team wanted to be kept informed. Carrie knew there were people in the company who could assist her, but she didn’t want to ask for support until she felt she could speak credibly about risk. After all, she had been put in charge, which meant she was supposed to have a clear idea of what she was doing.