Use of employee reports is a plus

Dear Joan:
I design and complete a few reports, some which are high-tech, on a monthly basis regarding my department's use of computerized systems. I send copies of my reports to key management people within our department.

My boss's boss loves my reports. In fact, he likes my reports so much that I often hear him quoting sections of them in meetings. I've also heard people talking about what "he" says on certain topics.

The problem is that when he quotes my reports, he infers this information to be his own. And, when I hear people talking about what "he" says, it sounds identical to what I've said in my prior report. I am getting upset as people believe it is he, not me, that is producing this technical research! What can I say or do to whom about this situation? I am working on my degree and hope to be promoted upon graduation, so I am especially concerned about this problem.

Answer:
When I was in college, I sweated over each term paper and project. The grade I received put a value on the quality of my work, as my professors perceived it. When I entered the work world, I was surprised to find that those "term papers" were given to my bosses and became a part of the public domain. In fact, my "A" work made my bosses look pretty good.

The first reaction of many recent college graduates is, "That's not fair!" They are used to getting credit for individual effort and feel gypped when others use their contributions.

Grades are given out a little differently in a company than they are in college. If you turn in "F" or "D" work, your boss is likely to have many discussions with you about your performance. An "A" employee may be assigned to check all of your work for accuracy. If you're performance doesn't improve quickly, you are likely to flunk out.

If your work falls into the "C" category, you will not get much visibility or opportunities for more responsibilities. You become known as an employee who doesn't do any "extra credit" work. Many "C" employees become complainers after they are on a job for awhile because they want to move on to something new and their attempts to do so are unsuccessful. Some blame the company or their boss for not providing a career path for them. Others have made a conscious decision that "C" work is good enough and their priorities are outside the job.

"B" students are highly valued and are usually given work that will test their abilities and help them grow. They are often asked to take on extra projects and to train others. Most of their visibility is with their immediate boss. A smart manager will coach these employees to help them bring up their grades.

You are an "A" employee. Your reports are allowed to circulate widely and are quoted by your boss's boss. This is a great signal and could mean that you are seen as a rising star in the company. When he quotes your reports, he is giving you one of the highest forms of recognition available in an organization.

If you make your boss's boss look good several things happen. Your own boss basks in some of the glory for having the wisdom to hire you and develop you. Fair or not, your manager will be given some of the credit for producing this valuable data from his or her work area. Your boss's boss looks smart because he has his fingers on important data he can now use with his own peers and top management. This is very important at his level because in spite of the fact that he is far removed from the details, he is able to produce management information that will be useful in making decisions.

Since you are sending copies of your report to key management people within your department, they know only too well where this great information is coming from. In fact, you may want to ask your boss if there are other parties outside your department who could benefit from your reports. The wider the circulation the better, especially if you are interested in working in other departments some time in the future.

Your boss is a key player in all of this and may be the reason you are feeling a little used. Questions to ask yourself are: Does my boss recognize me for the work I'm doing? Does he or she take time to discuss my strengths and weaknesses and do I get assignments that will help me develop both? Does my boss provide opportunities to showcase my work or are my achievements viewed as a threat?

Complaining is the worst thing you could do right now. Even if your boss isn't doing some of these things, you are still in a good position because your reports are seen and used by so many others. You probably are one of the few people who can produce this kind of high-tech information. Since you are interested in a promotion, it is vital that you are seen as a team player that is more interested in the company goals than your own.

Instead of worrying about getting credit, worry about developing the skills you will need for a promotion. Tell your manager about your goals and ask him or her what you need to do to get yourself ready. For example, if your people skills are not as strong as your technical skills, you will be kept in the back room throughout your career while others present your material. Researchers who can interpret and communicate what they analyze are in big demand. Ask your boss for opportunities to present your data verbally to individuals and groups if you need more experience here.

Give yourself time to see how your report card turns out. After another year, if you still feel that you aren't getting credit for your good work, talk to your boss or consider a job move then. In the meantime, every time your boss's boss uses your data, remember it's the organization's way of stapling your "A" paper on the front bulletin board.


Joan Lloyd is a Milwaukee based executive coach and organizational & leadership development strategist. She is known for her ability to help leaders and their teams achieve measurable, lasting improvements. Joan Lloyd & Associates, specializes in leadership development, organizational change and teambuilding, providing: executive coaching, CEO coaching & leader team coaching, 360-degree feedback processes, retreat facilitation and presentation skill coaching and small group labs. Contact Joan Lloyd & Associates at (414) 573-1616, mailto:info@joanlloyd.com, or www.JoanLloyd.com 
 
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