This is an article to help you to get the most from your hard work. You see I used to work really hard but I didn’t get recognition for what I did. I think of myself as an independent worker who would figure out what needed to be done and quietly get on with it. I don’t need praise and I’m not the type of person who likes to boast about my achievements. But the reality is that if your boss doesn’t know what you are doing and what you are capable of then your bonuses, promotions, recognition and job options are going to suffer.

What I’m going to share with you today is how you can use a subtle, but effective method to get the recognition you deserve. This will also give you the chance to mold your job into the type of work you like doing. This is also a great way to problem solve and embed learnings your progress:

PS: This topic fits in neatly into the concept of “Managing Upwards” because it’s no secret that your boss is going to affect your work happiness and success. But you don’t have to rely on your boss for your happiness and success if you manage your boss like I show you in this short introduction One on Ones with your Boss

I’m borrowing a bit here from something I saw a colleague do at GlaxoSmithKline. The basic concept is to do a Case Study on what you’ve done. Here are five reasons why you should do a case study:

  1. Case studies help with your problem solving because it forces you to think about the problem on a higher level. Successful people know how to switch between “Working on the business” vs “Working in the business” You’ll always be stuck facing the same problems day after day, unless you invest a little time in identifying and fixing the root problem

  2. Case studies help you to solidify your learning and solutions. The best way to understand something is to explain it to someone else. And case studies support you to transform theoretical exercises into practical benefits. What’s the point of learning something unless you put it into practice?

  3. Case studies are great for your career and raise your profile as an expert on the topic. The great thing about managing is that you can get a lot of recognition with little effort because the average manager doesn’t have any training in management! You don’t have to be a black belt manager, all you need is more knowledge than the average person. “In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king” This is why you get such a great return on investing in manager skills

    • Share case studies on your blog, LinkedIn, other social networks, resume or company newsletter and you will be more sought after on the job market

    • Other ways to share your case study with the people who can benefit from it are: With your boss in your own One on One Meeting with your Boss, with your team in a team meeting or to other colleagues working in the same areas.

  4. Case studies will earn you more money, get you recognition, improve your job security and will give you more work opportunities. Because case studies are an excellent medium to show your boss what you have achieved, why you are important to the business and what you can do

  5. Your boss will love you for it because bosses love employees who solve problems and this gives your boss something positive to share with their own boss

But of course the question is what to do a case study on and how.

What to do a Case Study on?

The easy answer is: Anything where you solve a problem. Tactically it’s good to choose solutions that stand out because of their size, the result you achieved, relevance to the business, uniqueness, repeatability, intractability or political relevance. You can also choose case studies that support your career development; what do you want to learn, what do you want to do? But quick wins are usually the best place to start. Because Manager Foundation is all about improving productivity, retention and workplace happiness I will of course recommend that you do a case study on management. Because showing management ability is a great way to advance to more senior management.

How to do a Case Study?

I have a case study for you to see an example of over here:

Case studies come in many shapes and sizes. A simple, easy to remember framework is the modified STAR.

S = Situation: What the existing situation was. Describe and quantify the problems

T = Target: What do you want to achieve?

A = Actions: What are the specific actions you took to achieve this?

R = Result: What was the final result. Quantify and support

There is an example framework below that you can adapt as you need.

Wrapping up: Taking Control Over Your Own Destiny

My values align more with “getting on with the job quietly”. I can be shy about telling people what I’ve done and even a little embarrassed when receiving praise. And I also don’t think that it’s right that people who shamelessly self promote themselves, with little substance, get undeserved recognition. But what I’ve realized is that it’s unrealistic to expect your boss to know what you’ve achieved unless you share it with them. Ideally you have a boss who communicates well and runs One on One Meetings with Employees.

But the reality is that most bosses simply never got trained how to do a difficult job. Instead of getting upset with the situation, you can take responsibility for your own communications with your boss and share your achievements with them. This is a simple, ethical way to manage upwards.

PS: Super User Tip: Your best forum for communications with your boss is your One on One Meeting with Your Boss. This is why I have a free, short course showing you how to get the most out of your most important work meeting here.