Being appreciated and having our contributions and skills valued has always been a human need. Regardless of our position in an organisation we are constantly on the lookout for approval or validation in some form. An unfortunate truth in this scenario is that people will rarely pay you or treat you as much as you are actually worth. Instead they will remunerate and interact with you based on how much they think you are worth.
It seems unfair to have your value to be determined by the perception and understanding of someone else, but unfortunately this is how human beings operate both in and outside the corporate world. Conditioning, associations, personal values etc. play a huge part in what will influence them on creating their perception on you.
However that isn’t all, in fact according to pricing consultant Casey Brown; a considerable part of this perception is in fact influenced by you. To put it very simply, people won’t treat you in a way that reflects your actual value, instead they will interact with you based on how much they think your value is; and you have the power to control how they think.
your value yourself
Of course before communicating your value to others it’s important that you understand your value yourself. A lot of us tend to undervalue ourselves in terms of our contributions or capability, while there are some others who heavily over estimate their capabilities and contributions. It is a fine line, but a good place to start is to try and figure out what your team or organisation would miss if you suddenly were not in the picture tomorrow.
These may range from technical to analytical skills or may even be some inherent personality traits you possess that contribute towards how your team bonds or interacts with each other. In addition to understanding your unique contributions you need to be ready to talk about your successes in specific contexts.
This is completely different from blowing your own horn or showing off, instead it means that you need to be ready with facts and figures about your contributions if the situation were to arise where you would need to talk about it. These two aspects may seem fairly simple, but if they are properly communicated the impact created on people understanding your value is immense.
Being comfortable enough to communicate it to others
This brings us to the hard part – communicating our value. A lot of us would rather people take notice of our value than us going up to them and telling them about it. We would rather think; ‘My work should speak for itself’ or ‘My boss should see what a difference I make’. Unfortunately you are not the only fish in the tank; there are plenty of people running the race, competing for the same promotion, with similar qualifications, all waiting for other people to take notice of what contributions they are making.
The idea of waiting for other people to notice has to stop, you need to take ownership for communicating your value, don’t be afraid to tell people how your unique skills have contributed to success in the past, don’t shy away when someone asks you how you would approach a problem your way, don’t back down when you have the opportunity to talk about your value.
It is all about giving yourself permission to talk about how important you are. One of the key aspects you need to manage in this whole equation is if your statements are backed up by capability. I am sure most of us have seen plenty of over confident personalities who fail to deliver when push comes to shove.
In this context being aware of your limitations and understanding your skills gap and then proceeding to take steps to bridge that skill gap is something you need to constantly work on. Make sure you’re current, make sure you are not being left behind in terms of skills and make sure that you aren’t being complacent when it comes to self-improvement.
Why it is important to communicate your value
The idea of understanding and communicating our personal value might seem a bit self-indulgent and perhaps it is a little bit. But what we have to understand is that it is a part of progress. It is what your superior is going to consider and your next appraisal, it is what the management is going to consider when you ask for that raise, it is what the organisation is going to consider when they think about you for that promotion. So go ahead, help them help you by letting them know how much you are truly worth.
(The writer is an international trainer and motivational expert. He has conducted interventions for many organisations here in Sri Lanka as well as in the USA, Japan and India. He can be contacted through www.FahadFarook.com.)