What have you done for me lately?

I can’t begin to count the number of people I’ve spoken with over the years who feel that their boss either doesn’t seem to appreciate what they do at work, or even worse, they feel their boss doesn’t really have a clue as to what they actually do!

Unfortunately, most managers/supervisors aren’t actually very good at managing/supervising.  While they would like their direct reports to exceed their expectations and reach their full potential, they rarely take the actions necessary to enable either of those two goals to happen.

So…what’s a poor employee to do?  Other than to become another number adding to the statistics of the Great Resignation.   

I’d suggest you take some actions that you’d hope your manager would take…on their behalf.  For the month of February, we’re going to take a look at some practical actions you can take, on behalf of your manager, that I’ve seen help people maximize their potential with their existing employer.

Proverbs 22:29 states, “Do you see someone skilled in their work? They will serve before kings; they will not serve before officials of low rank.” If we think of the work we do for our God, the King of Kings, we will be diligent in all that we do. And while He certainly recognizes it, our earthly managers may not.

To that end, the first practical application I’d suggest is to do an accomplishments memorandum. No one knows what you’ve done, or how well you think you’ve done it, quite like you do. Thus, if you take the time to document what you believe your accomplishments have been over the year, or even past few months, and share it with your manager in the spirit of, “Here’s what I think I’ve accomplished, I’d like to hear your feedback on it,” the outcome is very positive.  

 A couple of points to keep in mind as you construct this memorandum:

  1. Specify the timeframe that you’re covering, so there’s no confusion as to what you’re memorializing.
  2. Acknowledge the observations are simply that…your observations and opinions. You can appreciate that your manager may have a different point of view and you’d welcome his/her comments.
  3. Remember…this is an “accomplishments” memo, not a “task list completed” memo. You’ll want to include outcomes/benefits to the organization, and these can also potentially become great content for your resume.
  4. Keep it brief – one page is about right. You’ll want to be thorough, but not exhaustive.
  5. Be specific – avoid generalizations such as “I’ve been a wonderful team player.” Anyone can state that.  Be specific about why that’s true and what you actually did.
  6. Use a “reporter’s” tone – while this document will definitely serve to help substantiate your compensation, ensure this doesn’t come across as a “pitch” for that.  It is merely a way for you to share your point of view on what value you’ve contributed to the organization over the past few months.

Every manager I’ve known who has received this type of information is thrilled to have received it.  The document makes their job as a manager that much easier!  

So, rather than complain about your manager’s lack of appreciation for your work…help them help you! An accomplishments memo could be just the trick!

Dave Sparkman currently serves as the volunteer Crossroads Career board chair and local ministry leader. He is also the founder and managing director of Spark Your Culture, a corporate culture consulting firm. Prior to that he worked at UnitedHealth Group, a Fortune #5 public company, serving in the role of Chief Culture Officer. His unemployment experience came from the implosion of Arthur Andersen, where he served as the West Region Managing Partner, People.

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Comments 1

  1. Thank you for this blog — that never occurred to me. I’ve never been great at tooting my own horn. This approach, however, is a much more comfortable approach asking for feedback allowing to perhaps adapt accordingly.

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