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7 Things You Can Do If Your Hard Work Goes Unnoticed

7 Things You Can Do If Your Hard Work Goes Unnoticed

You work so hard for your money, so you deserve to be treated right. Unfortunately life doesn’t always work that way, and far too often you find yourself carrying huge stones up the pyramids someone else is taking credit for. If this is happening to you, it may just be in your head, but you’re the only one listening to your thoughts (until the government or corporations figure out a way) so you need to address the issue. Whether it’s you or them, lacking recognition isn’t the point of hard work, so here are some tips to ensure you don’t put in all that hard work while remaining unnoticed.

You Better Recognize…

You deserve recognition. It’s OK to accept that you’re a great person who deserves praise. Religion and economics sometimes have the effect of lowering your self worth; even a bad relationship or family discourse can get you down. You’re not just some Joe Schmo, and even if you were, we all know his name, so there’s no reason we shouldn’t know yours. Keep your head up and love yourself, and people will start recognizing you as the only person in the office who doesn’t complain.

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Dependence Is Taxing…

So you showed up on time and performed 12 of the 27 job duties you and seven other people are paid to do; do you want a cookie? People shouldn’t have to run around patting you on the back every time you’re considerate enough respond to an email or complete a project on time. You don’t deserve a promotion or a raise for meeting expectations. You earn recognition and rewards for going above and beyond. Drop the sense of entitlement–it doesn’t look cute on you.

All You Need Is Love…

No matter what occupation you choose, you’re going to put in a lot of thankless hours. It’s not like the media followed LeBron James from the womb; the only person watching his first time holding a basketball was LeBron and his parents. You know who he is because he put in 10,000 hours mastering his craft by the time he was 21. If you love what you’re doing, you won’t care whether or not anyone recognizes it; you’ll be happy doing what you’re doing, regardless of who’s watching. The only way to cope emotionally with that workload is to love what it is you’re doing and believe in it with every fiber in your body. Everything else is just a matter of time.

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Actions Speak Louder than Words…

Not everyone expresses themselves verbally–sometimes you may receive a simple smile, a free meal, or a congratulatory slap on the butt for hitting a homerun at work. Many times when the company is doing poorly, they’ll cut back on employee incentives. Suddenly you’ll see things like donuts in the break room disappear or the coffee maker being replaced by vending machines. It’s during these times (and many others) that many supervisors use their own money to make their employees happy. They do this to show you that you’re appreciated. It doesn’t always have to be a direct thank you.

Be Objective…

Do you truly deserve recognition–are you always actively digging the same hole the team is, or are you on the other end of the worksite texting? Do you think we don’t know how long it really takes to process that report? If you’re slacking off, you actually are getting attention, but it’s not for hard work. Think about whether or not you’d know if people are slacking off and ask yourself how dumb you believe your boss to truly be.

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Respect Yourself…

If you don’t focus on you, nobody else will. One of the easiest ways to get attention at work is to suddenly show up in a suit every day. With time, everyone will be talking about you. People in suits will ask who the guy in the suit is. You’ll have the entire office’s attention with everything you do–and by default, all the work you’re currently doing will get a lot more attention.

Create Demand…

Applying for other jobs is a great way to get attention. You don’t even have to apply for one–simply bring up places that are hiring in conversations. You can mention that another company has shown interest in your work and ask for more money. Be careful though, because you may find out how expendable you are, and the reality check could include losing your job as your boss calls your bluff. You’ll have their attention either way, though, as most companies have you take an exit interview.

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Smile…

Dude...that's not real bacon...I swear to you, I'll bite you...

    Dude…that’s not real bacon…I swear, I’ll bite you…

    When all else fails, smile; it changes people’s perception of you. When you turn something in with a smile, they’ll want to talk to you about your day. You may even get a date out of it. A genuine and confident smile will always attract more attention than a lowered head and hunched shoulders holding up a grumpy Gus. Put a smile on your face and make the world a better place–if for no other reason than to piss off your haters.

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    Last Updated on April 9, 2020

    5 Types of Leadership Styles (And Which Is Best for You)

    5 Types of Leadership Styles (And Which Is Best for You)

    It takes great leadership skills to build great teams.

    The best leaders have distinctive leadership styles and are not afraid to make the difficult decisions. They course-correct when mistakes happen, manage the egos of team members and set performance standards that are constantly being met and improved upon.

    With a population of more than 327 million, there are literally scores of leadership styles in the world today. In this article, I will talk about the most common types of leadership and how you can determine which works best for you.

    5 Types of Leadership Styles

    I will focus on 5 common styles that I’ve encountered in my career: democratic, autocratic, transformational, transactional and laissez-faire leadership.

    The Democratic Style

    The democratic style seeks collaboration and consensus. Team members are a part of decision-making processes and communication flows up, down and across the organizational chart.

    The democratic style is collaborative. Author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek is an example of a leader who appears to have a democratic leadership style.

      The Autocratic Style

      The autocratic style, on the other hand, centers the preferences, comfort and direction of the organization’s leader. In many instances, the leader makes decisions without soliciting agreement or input from their team.

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      The autocratic style is not appropriate in all situations at all times, but it can be especially useful in certain careers, such as military service, and in certain instances, such as times of crisis. Steve Jobs was said to have had an autocratic leadership style.

      While the democratic style seeks consensus, the autocratic style is less interested in consensus and more interested in adherence to orders. The latter advises what needs to be done and expects close adherence to orders.

        The Transformational Style

        Transformational leaders drive change. They are either brought into organizations to turn things around, restore profitability or improve the culture.

        Alternatively, transformational leaders may have a vision for what customers, stakeholders or constituents may need in the future and work to achieve those goals. They are change agents who are focused on the future.

        Examples of transformational leader are Oprah and Robert C. Smith, the billionaire hedge fund manager who has offered to pay off the student loan debt of the entire 2019 graduating class of Morehouse College.

          The Transactional Style

          Transactional leaders further the immediate agenda. They are concerned about accomplishing a task and doing what they’ve said they’d do. They are less interested in changing the status quo and more focused on ensuring that people do the specific task they have been hired to do.

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          The transactional leadership style is centered on short-term planning. This style can stifle creativity and keep employees stuck in their present roles.

          The Laissez-Faire Style

          The fifth common leadership style is laissez-faire, where team members are invited to help lead the organization.

          In companies with a laissez-faire leadership style, the management structure tends to be flat, meaning it lacks hierarchy. With laissez-faire leadership, team members might wonder who the final decision maker is or can complain about a lack of leadership, which can translate to lack of direction.

          Which Leadership Style do You Practice?

          You can learn a lot about your leadership style by observing your family of origin and your formative working experiences.

          Whether you realize it, from the time you were born up until the time you went to school, you were receiving information on how to lead yourself and others. From the way your parents and siblings interacted with one another, to unspoken and spoken communication norms, you were a sponge for learning what constitutes leadership.

          The same is true of our formative work experiences. When I started my communications career, I worked for a faith-based organization and then a labor union. The style of communication varied from one organization to the other. The leadership required to be successful in each organization was also miles apart. At Lutheran social services, we used language such as “supporting people in need.” At the labor union, we used language such as “supporting the leadership of workers” as they fought for what they needed.

          Many in the media were more than happy to accept my pitch calls when I worked for the faith-based organization, but the same was not true when I worked for a labor union. The quest for media attention that was fair and balanced became more difficult and my approach and style changed from being light-hearted to being more direct with the labor union.

          I didn’t realize the impact those experiences had on how I thought about my leadership until much later in my career.

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          In my early experience, it was not uncommon for team members to have direct, brash and tough conversations with one another as a matter of course. It was the norm, not the exception. I learned to challenge people, boldly state my desires and preferences, and give tough feedback, but I didn’t account for the actions of others fit for me, as a black woman. I didn’t account for gender biases and racial biases.

          What worked well for my white male bosses, did not work well for me as an African American woman. People experienced my directness as being rude and insensitive. While I needed to be more forceful in advancing the organization’s agenda when I worked for labor, that style did not bode well for faith-based social justice organizations who wanted to use the love of Christ to challenge injustice.

          Whereas I received feedback that I needed to develop more gravitas in the workplace when I worked for labor, when I worked for other organizations after the labor union, I was often told to dial it back. This taught me two important lessons about leadership:

          1. Context Matters

          Your leadership style must adjust to each workplace you are employed. The challenges and norms of an organization will shape your leadership style significantly.

          2. Not All Leadership Styles Are Appropriate for the Teams You’re Leading

          When I worked on political campaigns, we worked nonstop. We started at dawn and worked late into the evening. I couldn’t expect that level of round-the-clock work for people at the average nonprofit. Not only couldn’t I expect it, it was actually unhealthy. My habit of consistently waking up at 4 am to work was profoundly unhealthy for me and harmful for the teams I was leading.

          As life coach and spiritual healer Iyanla Vanzant has said,

          “We learn a lot from what is seen, sensed and shared.”

          The message I was sending to my team was ‘I will value you if you work the way that I work, and if you respond to my 4 am, 5 am and 6 am emails.’ I was essentially telling my employees that I expect you to follow my process and practice.

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          As I advanced in my career and began managing more people, I questioned everything I thought I knew about leadership. It was tough. What worked for me in one professional setting did not work in other settings. What worked at one phase of my life didn’t necessarily serve me at later stages.

          When I began managing millennials, I learned that while committed to the work, they had active interests and passions outside of the office. They were not willing to abandon their lives and happiness for the work, regardless of how fulfilling it might have been.

          The Way Forward

          To be an effective leader, you must know yourself incredibly well. You must be self-reflective and also receptive to feedback.

          As fellow Lifehack contributor Mike Bundrant wrote in the article 10 Essential Leadership Qualities That Make a Great Leader:

          “Those who lead must understand human nature, and they start by fully understanding themselves…They know their strengths, and are equally aware of their weaknesses and thus understand the need for team work and the sharing of responsibility.”

          The way to determine your leadership style is to get to know yourself and to be mindful of the feedback you receive from others. Think about the leadership lessons that were seen, sensed and shared in your family of origin. Then think about what feels right for you. Where do you gravitate and what do you tend to avoid in the context of leadership styles?

          If you are really stuck, think about using a personality assessment to shed light on your work patterns and preferences.

          Finally, the path for determining your leadership style is to think about not only what you need, or what your company values, but also what your team needs. They will give you cues on what works for them and you need to respond accordingly.

          Leadership requires flexibility and attentiveness. Contrary to unrealistic notions of leadership, being a leader is less about being served and more about being of service.

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          Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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