Ken is a hard working Finance professional with a leading agriculture multinational. He comes in on time and delivers all that is expected of him. His consistency at work is what his team mates value the most. However, at performance review time, he finds it hard to decode a phrase he keeps hearing often -“you need to be more visible at work”. Unable to fathom what that means he calls on his buddy at work, Natesh to get his views.
Natesh: “Hey Ken. Nice to see you again. Did you move roles or have you shifted buildings? I haven’t spotted you on the cafeteria for a long while”.
Ken: “Am well Natesh. Thanks for meeting me. I have been busy closing out the year-end financial reports. This is the toughest phase in the year for us, as you know”.
Natesh: “Yes, I get that. Tell me about the rigor of getting the numbers right. We can’t afford slip-ups”.
Ken: “Natesh, let me get to the point about why I wanted to meet you. You know me well. I come to work, do a good job and go back home. Have many other priorities in my life as well – my further education programme, buying a new property, teaching children at the orphanage etc. So lots goes in keeping me up and about. Despite all the good work I do, when it comes to appraisals, my manager keeps telling me the same feedback – you need to be more visible! I don’t get it!”
Natesh: “Visible? Hmm. Let me understand this. Did he mean you need to talk about your work?”
Ken: “I did try probing what he meant by this. I keep hitting a dead-end. All he says is that you need to make your work visible to others. Am I coming to work or do a stage performance?”.
Natesh: “I can empathize with you. It isn’t easy being in this position and not knowing what he means by ‘visibility’.”
Ken: “True. It feels like I must wear reflectors at work! They glow and hopefully people will spot me! This is very demotivating. I see others getting promoted and also raises and all they do it be ‘visible’ – according to my manager”.
Natesh: (looking amused) “You at least haven’t lost your sense of humor despite how you feel! That is a positive. That reflector joke is something, I say. Nonetheless, it must be disheartening for you to be feeling ignored. Not the best spot to be in.”
Ken: “I know. I hope this perception changes or else I will need to look outside the organization for work.”
Natesh: ”Hey, don’t take hasty decisions. Consider why you are getting this feedback and what you can do to change”.
Ken: “Well, let me mull over this.”
Natesh knows that Ken isn’t fully convinced about his advice. How can you help Ken appreciate what is taking place? What words of advice do you have for him?
It will be great to your hear your perspectives.
For more such articles and perspectives please visit my Linkedin page or look up this blog.