Chinese may believe it's down to a clash of the  zodiac animals. Like a 'dragon' and a 'dog.' Commonly, it is said to be a clash of personalities. Your boss just doesn't like you. Maybe, it is felt that you are a threat. Or you may have violated Robert Greene's first law of power; you outshone your boss or at least your boss took it in a bad way. The Financial Controller, who is three levels above your boss, emailed a recognition about your contribution, addressed to you and cced everyone in your team.

But it could be just bad luck. You are working for a boss with a vampire syndrome. He just sucks the life out of you. He gets you to do whole or part of the stuff he is supposed to do for the difference in his salary. Naturally, those accomplishments will only carry his watermark. He values you, but he just could not acknowledge your work publicly. Worse, he fears that giving you the due recognition will open his can of worms.

To the outside world, his key performer is another person, one who has no chance of  a sniffing distance.

Then, there is the boss who robs for a living. Almost the same as the poor character above but with a killer punch. He will quietly claim your credits and is unabashed to receive the awards, especially those with monetary incentives. And, you will be none the wiser, if he submits for the award while telling you he is not totally convinced that the accomplishment is deserving of any recognition.

Let's forget the personalities and look at the situation. You have done some wonderful stuff. But your boss never mentions them in staff meetings or publicly. Or even privately. You have met him several times, one on one. He seems to downplay the importance of your accomplishments or is able to find a petty fault or two. Or he will attribute the lack of recognition to someone above him not buying in to the recognition. In fact, he would even tell you to buck up, mentioning a tired phrase that you are sure now that he doesn't understand, " There are not enough strategic value in the accomplishment."

You know it's Bull. It's probably Bull. But, when can you do? ( Of course, you have done wonderful things and are capable of doing wonderful things in wonderful ways. Otherwise, this advice is not for you.)  How do you blow your own horn with impeccable professionalism? How do you protect your performance from the ghoul of a boss? I have a few suggestions.

1. A recognition shared is better than a recognition lost. For your next assignment or project, involve others. Better still if the members are from other departments. You would certainly need Purchasing folks if you are buying something. Instead of have a purchase requisition relationship, create a need for them to be part of the project team. If you are not from Finance, get Finance in. A critical partner could be someone from Human Resources. Find a way to involve the HR guy. Have meetings. recognize people through progress updates. Keep the bosses of your team members informed. This way, your baby becomes legitimate. (If you can get a member from HQ, it would be great!)

2.Get someone more senior than you but out of your boss's reach to be a sponsor or a project mentor. Depending on the size of the project, you could even get a peer of your boss or even someone higher up. How do you get the person to be interested? Just answer the "what's in it for me" question. Or, "how will this contribute to my success?" 

3.Factor project updates and a project closure recognition event in the plan and schedule. Include your own department updates and updates to the member departments. Install all documents in a shared drive.

4. Of course, I am assuming that your project is well done. At the recognition ceremony, play host. Have your boss and a senior person to give away the awards. Make sure your boss has the chance to recognize your sponsor or project mentor. Even if you hate him, never slight your boss. Go for the win-win.

5. If you have an in-house publication, write about your project frequently. Just make it a key purpose to recognize your team members. (Next time, people will beg you to have them in your teams.)

6.Talk about your project team often. In the cafe and water holes. say positive things about your team members. Of course, you have to make it relevant to whom you are talking with.

7. Write a case study of your project. Announce the case study (assuming that your project is a runaway success.) Make it accessible in a shared drive.

You don't have to do all the seven. Just do the relevant. Why am I familiar with this subject? Let's just say I learned it the hard way.

More important, if you have better suggestions or anything to add, share them.


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