Hello and welcome to another edition of the Women in Medicine Badass Radioshow with me, Dr. Sharon Grossman. I’m so pleased to be back. I just got back from a week-long vacation to Hawaii with the family. It was something I’ve been wanting to do for years and we finally did it.
But enough about me. Here’s what I am going to talk to you about today: Feeling valued by your organization. We are going to touch on what it means to feel valued, why it’s important, and what you can do if you don’t feel this way.
First thing’s first:
What does it mean to feel valued?
It means feeling appreciated by others through other people’s actions.
Why is it important to feel valued?
We all like to feel like others value our hard work and input, that we aren’t just wasting our time. Listen, work takes up the largest chunk of our week so it’s only natural we want to feel fulfilled by the work we focus on and in large part, that may mean looking to see how others respond to us.
You don’t feel valued when your boss takes credit for your work, when you’re interrupted at meetings, when your ideas aren’t given serious consideration, when you get passed over for a promotion, when there is not opportunity for growth, when you have no autonomy, or when you can’t take time off because you worry it will negatively affect your job security.
That’s all legit. But here’s the deal. This idea of feeling valued can also be a slippery slope, especially when you are seeking reassurance for your performance when it’s not in the culture to shine a light on individuals. I’m not saying one is right or wrong. What I am emphasizing to you is that you have to ask yourself why this is important to you. Sure, you want fairness at work. We know fairness is an important factor in avoiding burnout. But there is more.
More often than not, when people seek out recognition at work, it’s because they aren’t sure how others are perceiving them. They want reassurance. Notice if that’s something you do because if you’re doing it at work, you might also be doing it in your relationships. And I get it. You just want to make sure you’re OK. But here’s the truth. You’ll never really get there. I mean, you might get assurance that you’re OK, but it doesn’t last. You’ll find yourself in this habit of constantly needing assurance again and again and it can wear people down.
Is that you?
Feeling valued is important. That’s not debatable. It has been shown to increase productivity. And this makes sense. We will be more emotionally invested in our work and in the organization as a whole if we know that our efforts amount to something, if we are being noticed and valued.
So how can you know if you’re seeking healthy validation versus sliding on that slippery path I just mentioned?
Here are some markers:
- Are there blatant actions that others around you can agree are unfair or that don’t meet the company policies you know to be in place? For instance, is there a clear promotion schedule and the company just isn’t living up to it?
- Do your ideas get shot down when those same ideas are accepted when others present them?
- If you’re not feeling valued, ask yourself why you feel this way. What’s happened in your job?
- Is the culture at your work cut throat whereby nearly no one gets recognized?
- Do you feel underappreciated because you’re not recognized for your efforts even when they don’t turn into success?
- What about when you’re working as part of a team — do you find that others in the team get recognized and you’re overlooked?
The truth is that your perception of feeling valued is important because it will affect your motivation and the effort you put into your work.
Take inventory of your past jobs. Did they feel much like this job feels now? In other words, is this a pattern of experiences for you or does this experience stand out?
Some companies would rather recognize their employees once a year on a large scale as in holiday bonuses than all throughout the year. Others recognize employees in weekly meetings or in quarterly reviews.
So something to consider is what are you looking for in order to feel valued? Is it something you can do for yourself by recognizing your efforts and accomplishments or is it something you feel strongly needs to come from the organization?
If you want to focus inward and cultivate that feeling of value within yourself, the first thing you’ll need to do is reorient your point of focus. Create a system of checks and balances and ways to create goals and keep yourself on track. Reward yourself for progress markers in the way you would outside of work if you had created a personal goal.
If, on the other hand, you are focusing externally on cultivating a sense of value, there are still things you can do.
If the reason you aren’t getting recognized is because your efforts haven’t amounted to much, you could try redoubling your efforts to increase your productivity or improve your results. By outperforming others in your department, you are likely to get noticed.
You could try communicating with your manager about what would help you feel supported. You might ask for effective feedback for improvement or other means of support like additional resources.
You can find others in the organization who you might emulate if the reason you’re not getting recognized is that you’re more soft spoken or hold back more. Ask yourself, “What would they do in this situation?”
Ultimately, you have to decide if the way you feel at work is a deal breaker. If it is and you’ve tried everything, but you know on a core level that it will never work out for you, that it’s not a good fit, give yourself permission to seek out meaningful work elsewhere. At least going forward you’ll know what to look for and what to avoid and this can direct your job search.
You have trained for years to be where you are in your career. You spend hours on end each day and week focusing on work. You are valuable no matter what sort of recognition you get, remember that. And ultimately, you get to make the call about fit.
If you need support to improve your performance, to shift your mindset, or to find a more fitting placement, consider hiring a coach. Feel free to reach out to me if you’d like feedback or a referral by signing up for a free consultation on my website: bookachatwithsharon.com
You don’t have to do this alone.
‘Til next week, take good care of yourself and remember — you matter no matter what!