Relationships at Work - the Employee Experience and Workplace Culture Podcast

How to Get Leadership to See Your Value at Work

April 10, 2022 Russel Lolacher Episode 14
Relationships at Work - the Employee Experience and Workplace Culture Podcast
How to Get Leadership to See Your Value at Work
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode of Relationships at Work, host Russel Lolacher talks about how to get leadership to see your value - whether it's executive or anyone with influence in your organization. You have more power than you know.

After a recent experience where an employee diminished themselves and their influence within their organization, Russel shares how that is the wrong outlook and the steps you can make to improve how your value is perceived at work. When we talk about Relationships at Work on this podcast, we’re not just talking about the ones you make with your boss, your co-workers, your staff… we’re also talking about the one you have with yourself. "Executive doesn't know what I do." "No one sees the value in my work." - this is on you.

We need to talk about how to get leadership to see your value.


Highlights:

  • How we don't understand our influence at work.
  • Two things we need to first understand before influencing change - communications and people that aren't you.
  • Four steps to increase your perceived value in your organization. 
  • Tools to help with organizational influence.

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Russel Lolacher
When we talk about when I talk about relationships at work on this podcast, we’re not just talking about the ones you make with your boss, your co workers, your staff. We’re also talking about the ones you have with yourself. I was at a big, humungous event recently, I have to tell you, I had other plans for this particular podcast. Oh, I had an amazing guest lined up, and she will still be on the episode coming up next. But I screeched full stop. After this event I went to I’m like, no, no, I got to talk about this. This thing. We need to talk about you, the employee. And the power you have. Oh, we’re going to talk about it. Hold on. Hello, and welcome to the podcast. I’m Russell, this is relationships at work the employee experience and workplace culture podcast. I hope you’re enjoying it so far, getting some amazing feedback. What I’d love is if you do enjoy the podcast, if you are getting your brain filled with knowledge, whether it’s about you know, how to speak plainly how to deal with negative people, how to understand motivation of your staff and your teams to connect with them. We’ve had a lot of really interesting topics, and I’ll let you in on a little secret. Lots more to come. But if you’ve really enjoyed it, I asked that you please share, please send it out to those you think that would be benefiting from this conversation of relationships with yourself with your colleagues, your co workers, what leadership should look like workplace culture, we’re getting into so many topics, and I want to get the word out a little bit more about this little shiny podcast, and I need your help to do that. So if it’s not too much trouble, please share it. You got emails, you got your social media. Anyway, if you’ve enjoyed it so far, I’d really appreciate it. If you just you know, share it a little further. As I set off the beginning, I did a trip. Yep. My first trip since COVID. It it was anxiety inducing. The conference was government social media. And it is a nation wide platform for conversations about digital marketing, content marketing, social media engagement, all in revolving around the public sector, government’s little political, but mostly the public service. And this was held in Dallas. Now before I get into the conference itself. I’ll tell you, I was nervous. I’m a Canadian. I stay in Canada, during pandemics. I stay in British Columbia. I live on Vancouver Island. Heck, I even have a ferry that stopping me from needing to go other places. But I was really excited. I was speaking at this conference. And yeah, I was a little nervous because you had to do all the COVID testing and go through little apps and third party apps that I’ve never really used before. And if you screw it up or you do something wrong, you don’t get to go. And I’ve got a lot of people relying on me to attend to this conference. I’m a speaker. So lots of nervousness all round on it. It went well. It was just a matter of the anxiety of what if I do one thing wrong? What if I do my test and I jostle some thing that will screw it up and give me a negative or an inconclusive nervousness, straight up nervousness, anyway, got myself on the plane, got myself to Dallas, didn’t see much of Dallas at the conference, more of just, I think a little bit of the nervousness of being around larger groups for the first time in such a long time. The jet lag a little bit hit me it was an early flight and I didn’t get a lot of sleep. So I was kind of Oh discombobulated. Sure I love that word. Don’t get used very much. My friend Mike Vardy, the productivity is just reintroduce that one into my life. discombobulated Yeah, that was me. Anyway, I was a little off until I dug into day two, which had some really great interesting conference. keynotes were from like meta, and Twitter and TikTok and NASA really cool, interesting people. And then I got to speak, and I can’t tell you how much of a great experience it was. It went, how do I put this delicately, really well. I talked about public trust. And I think in the public sector, sphere. Public trust is something that really needs to be highlighted a bit more. It’s not just tactics. It’s not just the latest platform. It’s the people even give a shit about what you’re saying. The words coming out of your platforms, mouth matter to them. Do they feel like it adds value? Can they trust it?

So anyway, it’s a really good presentation. I’m really proud of it. I’ve done it a few times or in a few different ways for a few different audiences. But at the end of the day, yeah, I think I think it hammers home a very, very important message that organizations need to take a lot more seriously. But the reason I’m bringing up this conference is the reason for this podcast episode, like I said, as well, I had another episode, all planned, amazing guest. But nope, that’s going to have to wait another week, because I need to talk to you about you. There was this reoccurring theme, this conference that you heard over and over again, I heard it either from people saying it to me directly or overhearing it from their conversations, there was this feeling of people didn’t understand what they did. People didn’t see the value in the work that they did. And they were frustrated. They, you know, felt disengaged, they were passionate about what they did. But when they kept hitting their heads against a wall, it just deflated them. And, you know, that’s, it’s a hard thing to do to be screaming into a void, when nobody will, you know, listen to you get you that seat at the table, allow you to provide input in decision making, it can be really, really difficult. So I heard this over and over again, even to the point where I was talking to this really nice guy from the Air Force, actually, he reached out to me really loved the presentation. And he said, I’m just a peon. And man, my heart broke. I am just a peon. That was his answer. When I asked him, What things he was doing, to try to change manage culture, change his organization, to see the value in what he did. And he goes, You know what I can’t, I am a peon. And I know other people feel like this. I know, people feel like what they say doesn’t matter. They look at their organization, and they think I want to change it. But I can’t it’s the Titanic, it is an immovable object that will not turn, I don’t have enough influence, I don’t have enough tenure, I am not a big enough deal, I do not have the right title in my name for people to listen to me, and I got a scream bullshit on that. I’ve worked for hierarchical organizations, I get the power of a title, I totally understand it. But the thing is, it doesn’t matter where you are in an organization, you have power, you just need to look at it differently. And that’s what I want to talk about today is I want to talk about your role in your success at work. And before I get into some things that you should really consider and understand, there’s two things I want you to really get out of this one. Every job is a communications job. Every single role in any organization is a communications job, you have to have communication skill, I don’t care if your front desk or executive or somebody that works in the basement right in the corner in the back. There is an aspect of what you do needing to be communicated and understood by others. Whether that’s in the relationships, you have to build at work, whether that is in the report outs, you have to provide an email to executive or your boss, there is always an action, a component of communications, being able to craft a message that your audience needs to understand. Okay, put that put that pin in, put that feather in your cap. Think about that for a minute. Every job is a communications job. Got it? Good. Okay, next up. It’s not about you.

It’s not about you, even when it is, it’s not about you. People are generally too busy to care about you. It’s not that they’re malicious and mean people, they’re busy. They’ve got so many responsibilities. They’re juggling so many plates, much like you probably are, that you are not foremost in their brain, they are often on to other things, they will connect with you when they need you so that they can, you know, get something from you or you can help them so that they can cross a checklist off. But really, and I am being general here, most people are really busy in their own bubbles doing their thing. So, got it your communications person. It’s not about you, because other people have their own problems too. All right, got it. Okay, good. Now let’s understand how we crack that nut. How do you as a quote unquote, peon, start getting your message out and get a reputation, get a brand, get growth, get attention within an organization? Well, there are a few things you should do. First things first, right out of the gate. Define what you’re trying to do. define who you are. Define your purpose. That’s one of the things A lot of people talk about a vision and mission statements for business areas. I don’t totally agree with that. Because organizations should have their own vision and missions. Usually they’re pretty shitty. But they do exist somewhere on a website or a document, nobody looks at, what you should do is use those to inspire your own purpose statement. What is the purpose of your work, or your work units work in improving the mission or furthering the vision? Okay, because right away, that allows you to tie in your work to a piece of value. Got it? Define your success. Define your purpose. Because if you buy into what you’re doing, it’s easier to sell other people into what you’re doing and the value of it. And let’s get into it. Number two, selling, you have to become a salesperson. How does your work help other people? What problems will you fix for another person? How does your work impact their work in a positive way? I’ll use social media as an example, because of the conference. How will you working with them and getting the message out through social media possibly help them get less emails and less phone calls, because the information is out on Google and can be found so people aren’t picking up the phone, they’re not typing? See, your work is benefiting them by them having less work less headaches. So think about it, you’re figuring out your purpose, you’re figuring out your define success, what that looks like with the vision mission. And then you’re getting a little bit more granular into other work units you’re trying to build relationships with. And go, here’s how I can help you. Sell, sell, sell. So you’re understanding yourself better you’re understanding your impact on other people better. And then the third one is you have to be consistent about it. I can’t tell you how many times somebody go, Oh, I did a presentation for this group. I’d never heard back from them ever again. Yeah, because remember, I mentioned they’re busy. They got lots of other things to do. But if you follow up, you answer questions people have on a consistent basis, you do lunch and learns every month, you send out newsletters internally, you are sending fun emails out about the work your team is doing that is it’s an engaging email that people actually want to read. Figure out a content calendar, a schedule within your own organization about how you communicate internally, about what you do. What avenues are people already communicating that you can sort of get into? Maybe there’s a company wide newsletter and you’re like, Hey, can I have a section? Could I write a regular article in that newsletter,

It’s sometimes easier to actually not create a new stream of communications. And just, I don’t know, ride the coattails of one that’s already proven successful, and has a high open rate a lot easier to do. So define your success, figure out how to sell the value of your work based on their interests, not yours, and be consistent in your communication. Maybe there is a way of communicating regularly to executive around the value of what you do. Maybe it’s through your boss. And here’s actually something I should mention is a fourth thing is be targeted. When I talk about building relationships at work, it’s not with the organization. People can’t build relationships with logos and brands, they have to build them with individuals. And that is where the change management really happens. Oh, man, this place sucks. I wish we did X, Y and Z. Well, you can’t control an organization. You can, however, influence individuals. And you can build relationships influence individuals that have more influence than you that are in the rooms, the decisions are made that you can’t get into. But you can make friends with the person that is and may talk about you on your behalf. You create your own champions within your organization. I once had an executive say social media saved our ass at an executive meeting. Like across the entire organization, they had pulled senior managers all over the place in one room, and he stood up and said social media saved our ass. I’ve been saying it for ages, social media will help you this help you that help you this, but for him to say it with his influence his connections, way more impactful. People listened because he didn’t have really any skin in the game. He didn’t have a motive to build his reputation or maybe get more funding or resources. He was a person that had benefited from a service that I had provided him and he was singing its praises So of course, other people are hearing that going, Oh, maybe there’s something maybe there’s something to this. I need to follow up with him. Oh, I have questions. Great. I’ll answer questions left and right. I want to be here as a resource for you to teach you how valuable we are. Ah, I don’t sound very piani that way, do I? And that’s the influence you have is your relationship building. Remember, every job is a communications job. So why don’t you build a communications plan for individuals that you want to get buy in from? Figure out what matters to them figure out what they care about. And then slowly by slowly, your influence individuals, individuals, influence groups, groups influence bigger teams. Oh, it’s all working together now. So what are some tools that you can use to do those things? Well, first off metrics, metrics are your friend day to day to day to day to data. Now data is really important, because good metrics, good data can break through culture, it’s hard for somebody to argue the value of something you do if you can throw numbers around it, and provide it to them going. Actually, this is something that you need to pay attention to. Why look at the data. Right? So numbers are really important, because it allows you to prove worth that is irrefutable. Even though Believe me, some people try to refute it, who irrefutable and refute, I got to use those and I didn’t stumble over them. I’m very proud of myself. So anyway, you really can use numbers to hammer home. And I remember I said consistency, you’re using those numbers, then use those numbers again next month, use those numbers again next month show growth in what you’re doing. Now, I did mention social media, social media is a real easy one to find metrics around. But no matter what you do, there absolutely is a number that you can show growth and influence with to reinforce the message you’re trying to tell. You just have to really think about it. How can I prove, remember that success you defined? How can you prove it? Numbers can help with that? Next is presentations. That is a tool that you need to be good at, I’m not talking to reporting, because that’s a lot. What a lot of organizations do is just regurgitate information and give you 1200 words on a PowerPoint presentation, that they’re shrinking the font down so they can fit everything in. That is not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about presentations, presentations are things you create that connect with an audience. It is about storytelling.

It’s about taking that data that I already talked about, and wrapping it with context and story. Who’s the hero? What’s the challenge you’re trying to overcome? What’s the success at it? Think of it like a fairy tale at a Disney? Right, it has a story that goes through. And at the end of the day, you’re the hero that helped them overcome or you made them the hero that overcame a challenge. Storytelling, and presentations are amazing for that. One story, I once had a technical group who was trying to get buy in to what they did. So they thought, hey, presentation, that sounds like a great idea. So they came to me as someone who has done a few presentations in his time for examples on what a presentation should look like. So they walk into this office, they sit down, and they hand me this PowerPoint presentation. paper printed. It was heavy. I braced my back a little bit when I got when I when I got the stack of papers. 100 slides, double both sides. Okay, so route 50 pages, meaty. So I looked through this. And I looked up after them. I’m like, I’m, I’m actually interested in your topic. I’m not even your audience. But I am like an ally for what you do and a supporter and I work with you. So I love what you’re doing here. I was asleep by slide four. Because what they had done was they weren’t telling stories. They were answering every question. A possible audience might have you. So it was robust? My answer to that leave some mystery people, allow people to be curious, allow them to follow up with questions. Allow them to go, Oh, hey, I just thought of something and follow up with you a week later. That’s relationship building. That is you becoming that expert on that thing that they want to know more about. So understand your story. Not just throw numbers and information at people. It’s all about delivery. And also, speaking of delivery emails, oh my goodness. Think about that as a very good tool. Like I’ve been in organizations where they want to know Hey, what is your preferred method? If you Communication. And they think it’s going to be something shiny and new, like, well, there’s this app, we really want to try no nine times out attendance, email, why? Because that’s what they’re already using all the time. The thing is, they just want less shitty emails, less, less useless emails, once they actually want to read. And that’s another skill set is creating emails that people want to open, that people want to read, they want to learn more about it. See, we go back to storytelling, we go back to data that you can, you know, provide, do that in an email, do it consistently. Where’s the opportunity there. So define your success, define your purpose, then figure out how that success can be helpful for somebody else within your organization. Be consistent, and be targeted. Not the organization, individuals that you want to turn into champions. And it might not be your boss, don’t just give up if somebody’s like, you know, I don’t get it, and they move on. Or they get glazy. I’d go to somebody else, move down the table, have somebody else that you think will be like, Oh, no, this is the person that will believe in me, it might have a lot to do with their personality, it might have a lot to do with their their role within the organization. But don’t just get deterred because you failed to connect with that first person. There are a lot of people in the organization, you have other choices. And last dimension is those tools, which is metrics, data, presentations, presenting storytelling, and emails, which is still one of the most powerful tools you can have. All of these things will help you get some recognition will allow you to step out of your peon status that you seem to want to give yourself and realize that what you do matters, that what your team does matters not only to the organization, but to the public at large. And you can get other people to come along for the ride once they buy into what you do and see the value of it. And it just allows more empathy and more cohesion in the organization. Because we get to learn what each other does, and there’s tons of value in that. So your role in your success at work is huge. Because you can’t wait and sit and wait for other people to understand your value. They’re busy. You have to proactively get out there and sell because, like I said, you have a communications job.

Well, that’ll do it for my solo episode. Yeah, no guests this time, just me needing to talk to you. My name is Russel Lolacher. This has been relationships at work the employee engagement and workplace culture podcast, and I hope you got a little bit of value out of that. I’m very passionate about building relationships. That’s why the podcast got started. But we got to start with ourselves first. We got to start with ourselves first. You’re not a peon. You’re so much more than that. Thanks for listening. Take care.