If you never do, believe me it has been noted. Leaders learn very quickly who among their team will do only what is asked and no more, and if that is you, it’s hurting your career. Leaders need team members who take initiative and think beyond a checklist. Those who don’t are often considered plodders at best and slackers at worst. However, if you always do more than is asked of you, you may become overwhelmed, burned out or bitter. This is what we call a boundary issue.
Learn to find a happy medium. Choose with intent. One question you can ask yourself when presented with choice about whether to go above and beyond is: will my additional actions provide additional value, or am I just doing this out of habit or to get a pat on the back?
Do you have a good relationship with your leader? Take my quick Career Wellness Checkup poll:
Your direct leader is in the best position to tout you or torpedo you. They will generally be perceived as the most credible source when it comes to your performance. If you don’t have a good relationship, how realistic is it to expect that they will advocate for you? For that project you really want to participate in, for that promotion, for that bonus?
You don’t have to be their best friend, but if you are talking smack behind their back, the negativity is coming through somewhere, trust me. Recognize that your leader is an important part of your network. They may become a mentor, a sponsor. Don’t neglect that relationship or but develop it.
Do you know who your internal clients are? Take my quick Career Wellness Checkup poll:
Unless you are the CEO, you absolutely have internal clients of some sort. These may or may not be the actual recipients of your services. They are the individuals who have the ability to control or strongly influence whether or not the services provided by you, your team or your department will be “purchased”/utilized. For example, if you are in IT, every person who has a budget which they can allocate to technology if they choose is a client or potential client.
This doesn’t mean you should ignore the recipients of your services when they don’t hold the purse-strings. They may have influence on the decisionmakers even if they, themselves, aren’t actually making the purchasing decision. But it’s important to know who actually makes the cost/value judgement at the end of the day.
This year, I’m beginning a series of short posts based on my Career Wellness Checkup. The first one will appear next Monday. In each post, I’ll pose a question designed to help you diagnose the health of your career, and I’ll add a few thoughts about why the particular item is important.
It’s important to note that the focus of my Career Wellness Checkup (CWC) is a corporate setting. There are a number of questions which are irrelevant for the self-employed. Self-employment has many similar but also many different measures which I won’t cover here.
Either way, I hope you enjoy the posts, and I’d love to hear what’s working or not working for you.