When you go to work with the mindset of “I am going to crush this to-do list,” it’s only natural to want everyone around you to recognize your effort. You don’t necessarily want a parade in your honor, but a high five and maybe an ice cream cone wouldn’t be too much to ask, right?
But as much as you deserve recognition for your hard work, sometimes your colleagues don’t automatically think to give you the pat on the back you want. And even though that’s frustrating, the subtle ways you’re raising your hand for it are actually annoying the people around you.
So, let’s talk about the ways that you’re driving people nuts when you ask—and a few better ways to get the compliments you deserve.
1. You’re Letting Everyone Know About Every Little Thing You Get Done
Hey, I get it. Sometimes you produce something that’s so awesome that you want everyone and their uncles to know about it. And of course, if you went the extra mile and chipped in on something that was really urgent, you should be proud of what you’ve done.
But if all you’ve done is complete something that’s on your to-do list every single day, you probably don’t need to tell everyone on your team that it’s done.
Get the Compliment
I get why you’re doing this—sometimes being a hard worker isn’t enough. You want people to acknowledge that you’re willing to grind it out and can be depended on to get the job done. I hear you loud and clear. But rather than announcing your accomplishments yourself, the best way to get the message out is to have other people do it for you.
How can you do this? Be a team player and appreciate your teammates in public more often. Do this enough (without going over the top) and you’re more likely to get shout-outs in return.
2. You’re Constantly Asking for “Feedback”
I’d be lying if I said I never asked someone for help with something I didn’t actually need help with. Why? Because as good as I felt about the finished product, I really wanted other people to validate these feelings for me—and I didn’t want to outright say, “Hey, would you just tell me this is awesome?”
It’s common for people to overcorrect their arrogance by taking a more “humble” approach. The only problem is that when you ask for feedback, and aren’t receptive to actually getting it, your co-workers can tell you’re just digging for compliments.
Get the Compliment
This doesn’t mean you can’t share things you’re proud of with your teammates. You just need to rethink the way you’re making the request. In fact, try saying something along the lines of, “I feel good about how this looks, but would love for you to take a peek if you have a free minute.”
This does two things—it lets your colleague know that you’re feeling confident, but that you’re still open to her opinion. And if what you’ve done is as good as you think it is, that other person will be more inclined to let you know she agrees.
3. You’re Keeping Track of How Much Time Everyone Else Spends at Work
As someone who recently experimented with the idea of leaving right at 5 PM every day for an entire week, I totally understand that you want people to know that you work hard and are always available at your desk well past dinnertime on a consistent basis. When you stay at work late, it’d be nice if someone came up to you and said that whatever you’re working on can wait until tomorrow. That’s all you want, right?
But think about it. After a long day at work, your colleagues are probably thinking about what to make (or order) for dinner and perhaps what they should binge watch on Netflix. They know you’re spending a lot of time in the office, but aren’t necessarily thinking to pat you on the back for your effort. They’re probably trying to get the heck out themselves.
Get the Compliment
So, what can you do about this? This is going to sound corny, but the best way to get people to recognize that you spend a lot of time at work is to recognize that your teammates also spend a lot of time at work.
Even a short, genuine (emphasis on genuine) comment about how you know they must be tired from putting in extra time on a big project will often illicit a response like, “Yeah, but it’s nothing compared to your regular hours.” Be sincere and be empathetic and it’ll hard for people to ignore the fact that you're working hard, too.
If I could, I’d put an event on my calendar every single day to walk over to your desk and give you an HR-appropriate hug for working so hard. And yet, I’m sure there’d be days where I got so caught up in what I was doing that I’d simply forget to follow through.
That doesn’t take away from what you’re doing, or the fact that you’re making a huge impact on your entire team. But trust me, you don’t need to outright ask for kudos. They just might not come as often as you want—and that’s OK. Just try your best to focus on what you can control, and less on how many times people stop by your desk to say thanks.
Photo of women looking at a computer courtesy of JohnnyGreig/Getty Images.
TopicsSucceeding on the Job , Tools & Skills , Co-Workers , Syndication , Communication , Gratitude
Richard Moy is a Content Marketing Writer at Stack Overflow. He has spent the majority of his career in talent management, including a stint as a full-cycle recruiter and hiring manager. In addition to the career advice he contributes to The Muse, he also writes test prep and higher education marketing content for The Economist. Say hi on Twitter @rich_moy or follow his blog.More from this Author