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How can I prove my value to upper management?

Answered by Debra Thompson, President, TG & Associates

I feel that my company doesn't understand my value in the workplace. How can I prove my value to upper management?


It is clear from your question that you believe you have value and that you are contributing to the bottom line of your company. Your situation is not unusual. Employees commonly complain about a lack of recognition and rewards for their accomplishments. If your management is not in tune with what it takes to be an employer of choice, you may have a fruitless uphill battle to get the recognition that you seek. On the other hand, there may be some things that you can do to prompt management to acknowledge your contributions:

  • First and foremost, continue to accomplish the tasks that are assigned to you to the best of your ability. In many companies, management's time and energy is often spent on dealing with the people who don't do their jobs. As result they are often too focused on that problem to acknowledge the solid contributions of the good employees. An old adage about "the squeaky wheel getting the grease" may apply in your company.

  • Track your accomplishments and periodically share this list with your supervisor.

  • Hopefully, your company provides periodic performance appraisals. If they do, make sure that you take advantage of that opportunity to fully explore how they really feel about your performance. Be positive in this discussion because you are seeking guidance on how to make things even better than they are currently. If issues are identified, don't become defensive. Instead, be proactive in identifying behavioral changes that will correct the problem. If your managers don't do appraisals regularly, approach your boss and ask for some feedback. Your basis for the question is that you want to make sure that you are taking care of any issues that might exist so you need to know what they might be.

  • Go into the lion's den. Approach your supervisor and ask for a sincere dialogue on how to enhance your career. Express your desire to get ahead and request suggestions that you can apply to develop your skills and contribute even more to the company. Rather than complain about the lack of recognition, take a positive approach. Keep an open mind -- this might be an opportunity to get training on new skills, but it could also result in increasing your workload.

  • Approach your supervisor to present suggestions for improving your productivity even more and get his/her reactions. Use this opportunity to discuss his/her perspective on how you do the job today. Sometimes the only way to get a compliment is to drag it out. Always prepare yourself for the reality that he/she may not view your performance the same way you do. So once again, open the discussion further to find out if there are any issues and what you can do to correct his/her views.

  • Acknowledge your fellow employees’ good work. When you see that they have done a good job, tell them and let them know that you appreciate their help. This could result in them giving you some positive feedback or they may talk about you in their conversations with management. It could prompt management to acknowledge your teamwork because you express your appreciation for what the other team members are doing. But don't extend a phony “thank you” where one is not deserved. It will backfire.

  • Above all, don't complain to your fellow employees about the lack of appreciation. There is no value in creating a complaint society. And if you complain, you can be fairly certain that it will get back to management and will be taken wrongly.

I understand how tough it can be to do a good job day after day and not get any recognition. The companies that win awards for being the Best Workplaces in America are those companies that do provide employee rewards and recognitions for jobs well done. If you try all of these suggestions and they don't succeed in giving you the satisfaction that you need, it may be time for you to find a new employer of choice that will provide you with solid evidence of their appreciation of your efforts.

Debra Thompson is a national speaker and consultant on people management issues for the graphics industry. She is president of TG & Associates which specializes in staffing solutions for the graphics industries. She is the 2003 Recipient of the PrintImage International Industry Award of Distinction.

Visit for more information on her company, products and services and free information on the hiring process. She can also provide support to make your hire successful or do it for you. Debra can be reached at 877-842-7762 (toll free) or

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