One question I often ask of a coaching client is how they see the job they do? What does it contribute to the team, department or organizational success? How do they see its’ importance in terms of what it contributes to the desired outcome and achievement of the intended goal? Finally, what is the value that they place on their contribution as well as the value that others place on it? Too often the answers I hear don’t make for a pretty picture. And they definitely don’t make for a cohesive group effort. That, in turn, can have very real and even detrimental impact on the success of an individual and an overall effort. Add to this challenge the fact that today and in the near future many will be working remotely thus creating actual distance that can make this reality and challenge even greater.
In an ideal environment from one’s very first day they learn to recognize that they and the work they do is a contributor to the overall success of project and/or the company. It may be related to sales, customer relations, operations, accounting, delivery, administrative or overall management. Yet the ultimate success of whatever the goal might be cannot and will not be achieved to the max unless all aspects of whatever the goal requires are handled to the same degree of successful completion. This would logically require that every person involved in the process understand and truly value the job they do at the same time it is valued by others.
THE THINGS THAT INFLUENCE SEEING A PERSON AS DOING MORE OR LESS IMPORTANT WORK
Unfortunately, and especially today, I don’t believe that such a business culture is the norm. Rather, individuals either see themselves and their work as more or less important than another’s. This is especially heightened when we can’t see others on the team as we’re not always in the office or at least at the same time. When this happens it takes the wind and needed energy out of the sails of some while inflating that of others. The result? Divisiveness among the very people who are relied upon to make it happen in a successful way.
Here are some of the things that contribute to differences in the ways that one’s particular job contribution is seen as less than by others. There were well identified by Glenn Llopis in his contribution to Forbes on writing about different ways the contribution by some is undervalued. I believe this applies to ways that others on the team devalue another’s work and present it as such to some of his points. Consider these in today’s remote work environment:
- Unaware of Their Strengths
Some people involved do not see the importance of the work being done by others. They often see what they do as the most important. As such, they might not take the time to truly understand the abilities and strengths of what that person is capable of providing. When those working together can’t see beyond the obvious, they are doing themselves, their co-workers or employees and their organization a big disservice. They are unknowingly undervaluing their contributions and the opportunities before them. The remote work environment only magnifies this.
1. Refuse to Seek Their Counsel
Too often one does not see the true value of another’s job, see the person doing it and the related contribution. They may be inclined to look over them when seeking input that could improve the task, method and the outcome. This contributes to someone feeling undervalued and disrespected and thus a poor sense of their work and their desire to genuinely care.
- Make No Effort to Invest in the Relationship
When any one position on a team is seen as less important than another, it delivers the message that they are less important as a person and as an important link to the desired outcome. Thus, the person feels taken for granted and down goes their interest or investment in a most successful outcome.
- Provide Little if Any Feedback
If one doesn’t value the work or another the tendency is to not waste the time of providing input. Such input could alter and improve the work that person is doing. Of course, this easily can lead to that person feeling underappreciated and with that, the importance of caring and effort go south.
HOW DOES A PERSON MOVE FROM FEELING LESS THAN TO SEEING THEIR CONTRIBUTION AS IMPORTANT
This is all interesting, however, what is especially important to the person feeling this lack of appreciation and love is what they can do about it. The good news? There are steps you can take that will have a most positive impact on the person (is that you?) and the ultimate success that is the overall goal as follows:
- Take stock of just how real and prominent this situation is
Do you believe that the feeling you have and your related sensitivity to it is widespread coming from many or different directions? Or is it primarily from a sole source? Are you more aware of these feelings over the past 19 months? Regardless, it is unpleasant and uncomfortable however one’s reaction and actions tend to be different given the actual situation.
- Have a conversation with the person(s) who you feel doesn’t appreciate your work
Perhaps they emit the impression they do because they really don’t understand what you are doing and the related skill and challenges that it represents. Why should they? Their focus is on what they contribute and thus to some extent they take your abilities and results for granted.
- Be more visible to the others
Feeling unappreciated can make us withdraw from attention and notice and that only furthers the reactions of another and our own isolation. If you are proud of what you do and the level of skill you have, let that allow you to be an active part of the group effort. After all, others don’t really understand all that is involved. Let your sense of pride allow you to have a presence to the other(s).
- Be open in your recognition and praise of others and their contributions
Demonstrating your willingness to acknowledge others and their part in creating the desired success provides the example of others returning the same to you. It’s a win-win.
You don’t need permission from another to feel satisfaction and pride in the work you do and what you provide to the overall, successful effort
Being able to view what you do and the contribution it makes to the goal as being an important is key. Realizing you are a needed part of the overall effort makes you are less reliant on any other person’s view to define your real value. This enables you to move forward positively and confidently.
Amy Rees Anderson is a founder and Managing Partner of REES Capital, an angel investment firm. She focuses on helping other succeed in their entrepreneurial ventures. In her article for Forbes entitled “Every Person Matters in a Company, and There is No Such Thing as an Insignificant Position” she expressed this:
“Every single person in a company is a valuable piece of the chain. If they do their part wrong, the entire chain feels the effect. That chain is in a circle that goes round and round, with no beginning and no end. Every person matters and is equally important to the overall functions done in a company. No one person is insignificant or small in the process. Everyone needs each other” for the job they do and role they play in an effort. Did I just heard a mic drop?
This says it well and in today’s working world, finding ways to make connections with others on the team can lessen the impact of the changes that COVID brought with it. It can also minimize the tendency to value one’s contribution to the team effort as more or less than another’s. Characteristics of a successful team include … members who fulfill their own tasks and help one another. They communicate openly with the team and resolve conflict constructively. Finally, they know they directly contribute to the company’s success. Now all we need to do is to commit to making this happen.