How To Vocalize Your Professional Accomplishments In a Great Way

During COVID-19, office communication can be tough. Although we’ve established effective ways of communicating virtually, like Zoom calls and Slack chats, things can still be lost in translation. Given that we’re in unprecedented and unstable times, the stakes are extremely high around job stability and growth, and now is the time to advocate for yourself and your career. It’s important to be as explicit about how your work stands out, what you’re best at and how you add value to your organization. Your colleagues, and especially the manager, can acknowledge and celebrate your work accomplishments until you do. 

When you’re able to assess which accomplishments you would like to speak about, it becomes easier to speak about them with pride and a factual statement. It’s less anxiety-provoking and intimidating to share your work when you think of it as stating your coworkers’ facts. Additionally, it’s also crucial to be strategic before sharing out your accomplishments. What do you want to accomplish by sharing? Is it more visibility within your organization, positioning yourself as a thought leader on your team, or raising the extra projects and initiatives you’re executing? 

Although vocalizing your accomplishments may not be the easiest, it’s vital for your career growth. Here are our tips to help you nail the delivery, tone, and strategy for sharing your hard and amazing work with your organization’s members.

Speak with your boss to gain advice

During your 1:1 with your manager, ask them how they feel you should communicate your wins remotely and digitally? Would it be helpful for them to see your career accomplishments within a roundup email each week or in a quick Slack message? During this tumultuous time, aim to be consistent and produce strong work for your organization and yourself. If you’re preparing yourself to start a new job remotely, you can begin anywhere, as it’s never too early or too late to showcase your accomplishments and stand out from the pack. 

Share your struggle

Most likely, you’ve experienced some obstacles along the way of completing your project, so whenever you share your success, you should also disclose the hard work and team collaboration that went into completing it. 

Be a team player

Recognize publicly and often how other circumstances and people have helped you realize the success you have. Every accomplishment involves some kind of cooperative effort and teamwork. Make sure to highlight how you didn’t get where you are alone.

Get an advocate to share your wins

If you’re not comfortable sharing your wins, find an ally in your corner who’s willing to toot your horn for you, so you feel comfortable accepting recognition and compliments with gratitude and humility.

Keep it brief

There’s no need to detail every single one of your accomplishments. Let them unfold over time—and only when they’re actually relevant.

Lastly, always remember that modesty and relevancy are your friend and collaboration and teamwork is key when it comes to sharing your work accomplishments. 

Pieces Of Advice You Wish You’d Been Given At The Start of Your Career

You hear the question asked a lot: “What advice would you give to your past self?” Anytime I hear this question, I end up reflecting on what I have learned, both personally and professionally. Regular self-reflection is one of the best ways to remind yourself what continues to “work” while you also move forward. The start of a new year, and a new decade, is a typical time for many people to pause and reflect on where they’ve been and where they hope to go. So, as we kick off the new decade, I decided to put together the top eight pieces of advice that I wish someone had shared with me when I was starting out professionally.

Network More

My first piece of advice? Start getting to know your community and peers early. Connections you make can impact you ten—even 20—years down the road. People are the best resource to navigate career moves and strengthen your knowledge base.

The good news is that it’s never been easier to network. Thanks to social media, you can join a virtual community of your peers at the click of a button. Whether you engage in a LinkedIn group that’s tied to your industry, take part in a live Twitter Chat, or seek out local lunch and learns and meetups, taking the first step is key. Trust me, putting yourself out there is worth it. You’ll thank yourself later.

Be a Problem Solver, Not a Problem Identifier

We all have that one friend or colleague who tends to see the glass as half-full. They have no problem speaking up when they notice something is wrong, but they seldom have a solution to offer. Don’t be that person. You add value when you come to the table with an idea. If you notice something that needs improvement, think about how to fix it instead of just pointing it out. Don’t be afraid to flex those problem-solving skills early. Your peers will notice, your boss will notice, and you’ll be top of mind when new projects and promotions become available.

Always be Prepared

This piece of advice is timeless. No matter the stage of your career, preparation is the key to success. Show up to your meetings prepared. Set aside time to research who you are meeting with and prep any materials of use for the meeting at the minimum. If you are not sure what that means for your new role, ask!

Being prepared is a sign of respect. When you come to meetings, prepare, and show up on time, you communicate that you’re reliable, competent, and courteous. All of these traits will serve you well throughout your career and your personal life, too.

Attitude Goes a Long Way

Skills are essential, yes. But so is attitude. My advice? Having a chip on your shoulder makes you stand out—and not in a good way. While navigating corporate life can be difficult at times, focusing too much on corporate politics will hurt you in the long run. Be pragmatic, not pessimistic. Build others up, don’t tear them down. Look for ways to build consensus, not divide.

Have Measurable Goals, but be Flexible

Having goals for the future is a great way to stay motivated, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t get that promotion within a year! It takes time to understand the ins and outs of a new company. My advice is simple: if you’re looking for ways to grow, then take some time to understand your business and how each person and team contributes to success. Once you understand that piece of the puzzle, you can become a more active and intentional contributor. Just be patient and remember that every company is different. What takes three months in one place may take nine months in another, and that’s okay. Just stay focused on your goals and do your best work.

Quality Over Quantity

Remember that bit of advice about having a positive attitude. There is one caveat. Having a “go-getter” attitude is great, but remember that it is not possible to do it all. Don’t take on too much, or the quality of your work will suffer. Time management is critical. Talk to your leadership and find the best to prioritize your projects. It’s better to do a few things well than many things poorly. Quality counts.

Ask Lots of Questions

As you’re just starting out in your career, take every chance you get to learn from others. The best way to do this is to ask questions. Your more seasoned colleagues are an invaluable resource. Tapping into the situational experiences that they have navigated can provide the best starting point. Every time I have asked the question, “What would you do in this situation?”, I have gotten fantastic advice. And asking questions shows you’re curious, eager to learn, and open to feedback. Those are all good things.

Learn to Identify the Difference Between Ego and Confidence

You’ve landed your first full-time role or scored a promotion. Congratulations! You should feel confident and proud of your hard work. But you should also stay humble. Things can change fast in a corporate environment. Celebrate a job well done, but don’t let your ego take over and don’t become complacent. Thank your team for helping you get where you are, and continue to check in with them and find new ways to grow and improve. Every new project or challenge offers the priceless opportunity to learn, help someone else learn, and ultimately become a more well-rounded professional. Never take those opportunities for granted.

Bringing it All Together

As I launch into the new decade, I find myself working with great leadership and teams (many of whom were integral in influencing the pieces of advice this list). Though I’m no longer new to my profession, I continue to learn. How about you? Ask yourself, “What advice would I give myself starting out in my career?” Share that advice with someone who could benefit.

Delivering Constructive Criticism To Employees Without Effecting Their Morale

Managing a team remotely and struggling to communicate constructive criticism? You aren’t the only one. Given COVID-19, more employees and teams are working remotely more than ever, causing an increase in digital communication over in-person interactions in the workplace. Interacting online is causing us to rethink how to work effectively within our teams, including how managers provide feedback to their employees.  Although receiving feedback is critical for career growth and progress, along with expansion and upward mobility within the organization, most employees are hyper-sensitive or frightened to accept constructive criticism.

Managers also don’t love to dole out feedback, worry about offending employees, and stifling their morale. Even though most managers don’t like giving feedback, their employees are longing for it. A study found that more people prefer corrective feedback (57%) to praise or recognition (43%). This is mostly because people believe that corrective feedback does more to improve their performance than positive feedback. While navigating COVID-19, most things will change, including communication mediums, workloads, and more, but providing constructive criticism, shouldn’t be one of those factors that shifts.  See our tips for delivering feedback remotely below.

Establish frequent and casual check-ins

Even though remote work lacks the same human connection as the office environment, it’s still essential to establish frequent and casual check-ins. Regularly checking in with your team by Slack, call, or email can help maintain that connection and alleviate common feedback issues. Research shows that managers often inadvertently layer in compliments within their feedback to sugarcoat their criticism, which makes it less helpful for their employees. To combat this tendency, make sure you are consistently providing feedback. Ongoing, casual check-ins prevent resentful feelings, future mishaps, and disagreements, which usually arise in remote work situations. 

Be compassionate

Before you critique your colleagues or employee’s work, remember to exercise compassion as it can go a long way toward establishing trust. Since virtual employees don’t have the regular opportunity to read tone or body language, building mutual trust is key to make your feedback more palatable and acceptable. As a solution, utilize the same pleasantries as you would in the office. Taking this approach into account, you may be wondering how to show genuine compassion without coming across as disingenuous. The key is to let them know you are on your employee’s side, even if you have to flag something that they could do better.

Resort to leveraging video conferences for sensitive information 

When it’s time to deliver constructive feedback remotely, a video or Zoom call is the best alternative to face-to-face syncs. Research studies have found that video calls are just as effective as in-person meetings, as long as you frame the video to capture your body language, not only your facial expressions. In efforts not to misconstrue your written feedback, convey your thoughts to your employee over video. 

Celebrate your employee’s accomplishments

As a remote manager, you may be wondering how to praise your employee for their consistently good work performance. 

“For a remote worker who’s performing well, the risk can be that they are not getting enough visibility from their manager or the team. Feeling overlooked and underappreciated, they’re at risk for disengagement and attrition. Research shows that the worry about being “out of sight, out of mind” or of having a fear of missing out (FOMO) can lead to loneliness and isolation in remote workers. It is therefore critical for managers to increase high-performing team members’ social visibility with public recognition, and to reward good work.”  

You can begin to recognize your remote employees by doing the following: 

  • Company email threads to appreciate good work.
  • Sharing messages in public chat rooms. One specific idea is a “Celebrate” channel in Slack, where anyone can give someone else a remote high five—an emoji, GIF, or written comment—for something great or noteworthy that they did.
  • Having a dedicated written space for recognition or gratitude.
  • Create regular time for celebrating ‘wins’ in a team or all-hands meetings.

How To Take Your Career To The Next Level

Feeling stuck in your career? You’ve likely hit a career plateau that happens to the best of us. Sometimes the plateau is caused by feeling uninspired by the work that you’re doing, but it could also be a result of your actions. The difference between a career that flattens and one that skyrockets are the impression that you make on others and key stakeholders within your organization. Instead of becoming stuck within a continual loop of frustration with a position that isn’t going anywhere, you should focus on four attributes that can make or break your career success.

Exercise your authority

People who can communicate effectively with also a sense of authority can gain influence and respect amongst organizations, which also heightens their chances of having their ideas become showcased. Although your career can progress forward if you can demonstrate work ethic and doing a good job, you’ll travel further if you’re voice is being heard and respected. To access your authority, it can help to do an audit of presentations to make a note of your body language and presence. Throughout your remote meetings, take note of your posture, eye contact, and participation, then watch how people respond to you.

Be warm and approachable

Another essential attribute is the warmth that you’re able to convey amongst your organization. Warmth can be communicated by being humble, vulnerable, empathetic, and attentive and also how measured by how good a listener you are. Warmth is necessary to create trust, as well as to be relatable, which is crucial to solidifying your position on a team. Do a self-reflection and ask yourself, Do your colleagues trust you? Do people feel comfortable challenging your ideas or giving feedback? Do you acknowledge others during interactions?

Demonstrate collaborative energy

Demonstrating positive and collaborative energy is an emotional commitment and connection that makes you memorable, impressionable, and persuasive. Harness your energy within the workplace by tuning into how you engage with others and being aware of how others react to you. Do you talk too fast? Not enough? And do you truly listen in a way that makes others feel energized by your interest in them?

Ask for feedback

Show your colleagues and manager that you are interested in the progression of your career and personal growth by asking for feedback on communication styles, projects, and time management. Seek out feedback from trusted friends, mentors, and colleagues about what kind of impression you make. For feedback to be valuable, you have to be ready to receive the truth to move past your blind posts. Remember, feedback is an opportunity to grow and ascend.

The Office After COVID-19

COVID-19 has forced the adoption of new ways of working and shifted the norm in and out of the workplace. Now organizations are tasked with reimagining their work and the role of offices in creating safe, productive, enjoyable workplaces for their employees. 

Many companies around the world have risen to the occasion, acting swiftly to safeguard employees and migrate to a new way of working that even the most extreme business-continuity plans hadn’t envisioned. Across industries, leaders will use the lessons from this large-scale work-from-home experiment to reimagine how work is done—and what role offices should play—in creative and bold ways.

According to McKinsey’s research, 80 percent of people questioned report that they enjoy working from home. Forty-one percent say that they are more productive than they had been before and 28 percent that they are as productive. Many employees liberated from long commutes and travel have found more productive ways to spend that time, enjoyed greater flexibility in balancing their personal and professional lives, and decided that they prefer to work from home rather than the office. Many organizations think they can access new pools of talent with fewer locational constraints, adopt innovative processes to boost productivity, create an even more influential culture, and significantly reduce real-estate costs. Workplaces around the United States are questioning how work should be done and the role of the office. 

Although the answer will be different for every organization, business, and functions, exceptional change-management skills, and constant pivots will need to happen over time.

During this pandemic, organizations have tried to ensure that the most critical processes could be carried on remotely. Most have simply transplanted existing processes to remote work contexts, imitating what had been done before the pandemic. Organizations should identify the most critical processes for each significant business, geography, and function, and re-envision them entirely, often with involvement by employees. This effort should examine their professional-development journeys (for instance, being physically present in the office at the start and working remotely later) and the different stages of projects (such as being physically co-located for initial planning and operating remotely for execution).

Organizations should also reflect on their values and culture and on the interactions, practices, and rituals that promote that culture. A company that focuses on developing talent, for example, should ask whether the small moments of mentorship that happen in an office can continue spontaneously in a digital world. Other practices could be reconstructed and strengthened so that the organization creates and sustains the community and culture it seeks.

Workplaces should use this time to break away from past habits and systems within the workplace. A well-planned return to offices can use this moment to reinvent their role and create a better experience for talent, improve collaboration and productivity, and reduce costs. Ultimately, the aim of this reinvention will be what good companies have always wanted: a safe environment where people can enjoy their work, collaborate with their colleagues and achieve the objectives of their workplaces.