Interpersonal EDGE: Working Hard and Not Getting Ahead? Read This!
Sunday, June 3, 2012

By Dr. Daneen Skube
Tribune Media Services
 Q. I've been in my job for 10 years. I'm loyal, hard working, have great people skills, and am highly competent. I am also consistently passed over for promotions. The people who are promoted are far less competent. I don't get it! How do I get on my company's promotional track?
  A. You get on your company's promotional track by recognizing that, unfortunately, we live in a world where how something looks is often more important than how something really is. 
  I'd imagine you didn't get into your first job with the knowledge that you would now be required to be a marketing manager for "Brand You".  The truth is that no matter what our expertise if we don't do consistent public relations work on our "brand" on the job we won't succeed.
  I often have readers write me incensed that coworkers who are half as competent as they are will be given opportunities denied to these frustrated readers. If you believe that simply being patient, working hard, and waiting will bring you rewards at work - think again. 
  There's a saying in marketing that points out that just building a better mouse trap wonít send customers flying to your door. There's also a marketing joke that having a good product without marketing it well is like a guy trying to get a date with a girl by winking at her in the dark.
  What you want to know is that marketing yourself in your career is no longer optional. Here are some of the top tips my clients have found helpful to start gaining more visibility for their brand:
  1. Practice answering the question, "What do you do?" by imaging you have 60 seconds on a Super Bowl advertisement. How would you focus on telling your audience the results you achieve instead of your job tasks?
  2. Listen better to the problems of your coworkers and team. Start speaking up and proposing solutions after paraphrasing the problems you've heard. Become the person people seek out for problem solving.
  3. Don't be shy about telling your boss and team the facts about what you have achieved lately. Accomplishments and successes that are not discussed cannot become reasons to promote you.
  4. Make sure that your customers, coworkers and boss get what they need as you meet your goals. Highlight the win/win nature of the goals you've completed so people come to trust that if you win so do they.
  Keep in mind that becoming articulate about what you are doing, learning and how you help your company is not bragging; it is realizing no one in your workplace is telepathic. You can leap buildings, work magic and still get no recognition simply because people do not have complete information about what you do for your company.
  When incompetent coworkers get promoted, you can take some comfort in knowing that what goes up must come down. You'll take more comfort in knowing that you are on the top of list to move up because your boss, team and customers know the complete story: that when you win, so do they!
  The last word(s)
  Q. I used to work in a daycare and now work in a corporation. Is it my imagination or do people act like preschoolers in the workplace?
  A. Yes, people do act young in most workplaces because growing older is unavoidable but growing up takes courage.
Daneen Skube, Ph.D., executive coach, trainer, therapist and speaker.  She's the author of "Interpersonal Edge: Breakthrough Tools for Talking to Anyone, Anywhere, About Anything" (Hay House, 2006). Contact  her at or 1420 NW Gilman Blvd., #2845, Issaquah, WA 98027. Sorry, no personal replies.
This was printed in the June 1, 2012 - June 16, 2012 Edition

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