They appreciate my work, but never recognize or promote me

Dear Joan:
How does my work, ideas, strategies get recognized by senior management?
 
I provide a lot of good ideas, direction and suggestions to my manager and other people in my company. These ideas, strategies and improvements are used, but the fact that I came up with it are never acknowledged, or worse other people are given the credit and then it is treated as common practice or knowledge.
 
My manager has commented that I make things look so easy that people do not realize how complicated some of the tasks I do or recommendations are accomplished. It is common for me to see that upper management has taken my ideas, recommendations to be used.
 
I hear colleagues parrot my solutions and use my ideas, which is fine, but again, it is taken for granted. It is my nature to be generous with my help, ideas and solutions.
 
I have applied for some positions in the company but have been told that they are junior positions and my skills are better suited in my current position! Yet these other positions have a more senior status in the company and more exposure throughout the organization. People in these positions come to me for ideas, solutions, opinions as well and use them.
 
I just don't get it. Any observation you can provide is appreciated.
 
Answer:
I’ve done some editing of your letter (misspellings and partial words, for example) but I have left some of it as it was written because I want to make a point. Your ideas may be creative and adopted but if you want to move up you need to polish your writing skills. Great ideas may be discounted if they are delivered in an unprofessional package.
 
Check into courses offered in business writing at your local technical schools or colleges. A little polish will help you to sell your ideas. The same is true for presentation skills. These two skills are critical if you are to be taken seriously.
 
Next, it’s flattering to have your manager tell you that you “make it look easy,” but that’s not getting you where you want to go. Request a meeting with your manager and have a heart-to-heart conversation about your skills and development needs. Ask him or her to give you some guidance about a career direction that would fit your natural talents and interests. Ask for feedback on areas you need to work on to make you a good candidate for these jobs.
 
It’s not just about getting a position that gives you more visibility—it has to be a logical next step in your career that fits your skill set. Managers and executives who move up have to prove themselves in the technical areas in which they work. Sometimes it requires another degree to be competitive in a technical field. Usually it requires an escalation of responsibility and accountability over time that earns you the promotion—not just good ideas (although they certainly help!)
 
Since your boss is a fan of your work, he or she is likely to be a willing advocate for you. As a result, brainstorm ways you can close experience/skill gaps right in the job you have now. For example, if you need leadership experience, perhaps there is a project you could spearhead that would give you an opportunity to facilitate a group toward a goal.
 
For now, keep up your generous spirit and continue to share your ideas with others. Look for ways to speak up on your own behalf and ask your manager to give you some visibility. Seek out mentors in the company and on the outside. Look for honest, caring people who will give you straightforward feedback and practical guidance.
 
Taking initiative and making improvements is going to pay off in the long run. If you want to go from A to B you may have to move through A1, A2 and A3 first. You may even have to move outside your company to find a path that is right for you. Whatever the case, with your work ethic and ambition, I suspect you will reach your goals.


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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