End 2023 Strong at Work
With days left before the beginning of a new year and the holiday season in full swing – it’s an opportune time to finish out the calendar year with intentionality at work. The economic predictions about inflation, a potential recession, and company lay-offs are conflicting at best, so take advantage of the opportunity to demonstrate your value at work to prove why you are a star player.
Some organizations utilize end of the year performance reviews to determine who stays and who goes when considering downsizing. Even if your company is solvent with no imminent threat of workforce reduction, take advantage of a year-end review to showcase how you can set yourself apart as an indispensable contributor in your organization.
Nurture the Relationship with Your Boss
Perhaps your boss is so busy with their own work that they rarely check-in with you unless there is a fire to put out. High-achieving professionals are often ignored because they do such great work, their managers don’t feel the need to check-in. While I celebrate the opportunity to work autonomously, your busy boss may not know the depth and breadth of your extraordinary work, so the onus is on you to manage up and share details about your contributions. If you have direct reports, you can also manage up on their behalf to showcase their great work since they don’t have direct access to the same leader to whom you report.
It’s also essential to learn about your boss’s priorities, so be creative about how you can spend quality time, even if brief with your direct leader. Everyone can spare 15 minutes for a focused check-in and the opportunity to discuss priorities and share your wins is an investment in your career future.
Focus on the Top Priorities
As Q4 winds down, your organization likely has goals and priorities to button-up before the end of the calendar year. Discuss with your manager how to prioritize tasks that will be most impactful for the organization to complete now. The company’s success is ultimately your success as well.
Know What’s Coming in 2024?
Be in the know beyond your team or department in the organization to understand what the expectations are for the new year. What is critical for the success of the organization? What are the human capital and resource needs? How can you play an active role in providing solutions?
Ask how you can get involved in solving challenges and consider how you can contribute towards outcomes that are essential for company success.
Years ago, I had a well-meaning boss who was so busy they rarely, if ever checked-in with me beyond the mandatory end-of-year performance evaluation. I came prepared to that session with an archival documentation of my wins for the entire year and included the successes of my direct reports. My boss was flabbergasted and shared, “I had no idea you did all this great work.” You need not have a mic drop moment like this. It’s essential for you to keep your manager regularly informed about your wins and your challenges so they can advocate on your behalf throughout the year.
With humble confidence – nobody likes a narcissist – tell your manager about your unique skills, pivotal relationships, (internal and external) and the significant load you are carrying for the company. Illustrating why you are hard to replace is a savvy move that helps people understand your value when you are not in the room to advocate on your own behalf.
Don’t Let Out of Sight, Be Out of Mind
With remote and hybrid work options becoming mainstream, take advantage of the end of the year to spend face time with colleagues and your boss. If you can make the holiday gathering or your performance review happen in-person, you will enhance your virtual relationship. If traveling to your company is not an option, be sure to have a camera-on video call to connect with eye contact and body language. Being visible is essential even when you work remotely.
Never take for granted that the powers of be know the details about the work you are doing. It’s essential to manage up, showcase your value, and articulate why you are indispensable. Your career future depends on it!