Give your boss some credit.

Aug 20th, 2011 | By | Category: abundance, Career advice, difficult boss, giving credit

It is only natural to take credit for our accomplishments. We work hard to advance our careers. However, we usually had some help along the way. It is good to recognize and thank those who helped us.

When I think back over my career two areas spring instantly to mind; my accomplishments, and my difficulties. In most instances the accomplishments are due to my Herculean efforts and Einstein logic, and the difficulties are attributable to spiteful competitors or tyrannical bosses. It seems unfair that those who caused us the most pain should be remembered while those who helped us most are glossed over by an egotistical and selective memory.

There are very few of us that actually succeed solely through our own efforts. No matter how hard you work or how smart you, there are very few of us who can nominate our self for a raise, set our own bonus, or submit our promotion papers. These are all actions, which must be taken by someone else.

The fact that our success depends so heavily on others often escapes our consciousness when developing our strategies, and implementing plans to achieve our career goals. Some of the problem is how we socially train ourselves to fit into our social structure. Remember how in school from the first grade on there was a teacher’s pet? No one wanted to be labeled a “brownnoser” [], and we seemed to fall into line in behind the cool kids, and vied for their attention. It was more important to fit in than advance our achievements.

There are very few of us who do not succumb to social pressure. It is one of the most potent weapons in any culture. The Japanese have a saying “The protruding nail gets pounded down.” This strict cultural code is responsible for the very disciplined and hierarchical social structure in Japan. There everyone tries to be the teachers pet for do otherwise would be meet with social castigation. It has been my observation, that those who can keep a foot in each camp are the high achievers. They retain the respect of their peers while garnering a favored status from the dreaded establishment. Like the scene in the classic 1948 movie comedy “A Southern Yankee” [] where Red Skelton rode between the Union and Confederate Armies bearing a two sided flag, Stars and Stripes on one side and Confederate “Dixie” flag on the other, Red was able to convince opposing armies he was on their side.

Take a few minutes and reflect on your career, and where you made most of your advancements. They were most likely achieved while working with a boss with whom you had a good relationship. You should recognize the people who helped you, and thank them for their contributions to your success. If we spent as much time thinking about our good bosses instead of dwelling on our difficult bosses we would probably seek more harmonious working environments.

I had an associate who was in very sense of the word a “brownnoser” he worked as hard at becoming the boss’s favorite as everyone else did doing their job. Although not well liked, and often maligned behind his back, everyone treated him well due to his close relationship with the boss. It paid off for him, for while he had limited talent, he rose through the ranks following his boss as far as he could carry him. When his boss left the agency, he immediately picked up the same tactics with his new boss who carried him to a deputy bureau chief’s position, far supposing his peers. To talk with him, he achieved his success through his own merit, and seldom does he mention his strategy of riding on the coat tails of others, but he will tell you of his difficult bosses, those who did not grant him favored status. Most of us are not this aggressive in our pursuit of success and rely solely on doing a good job to achieve success. To a lesser extent we are a lot like my coworker. Instead of giving credit to those who helped us, we take all the credit for ourselves.

In recognizing those who helped us along the way, we plant the idea in our minds that we advance much further when we get along with our boss. Thanking your boss when he does something to help you is on only good manners. When you talk good about your boss it raises your status among your peers. Even if you are not getting along with your boss talking like you do is good move. (I learned that the hard way) So if you are not in the habit of thanking and recognizing those who help you, give it a try. You may find it is a courteous gesture that pays dividends.

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