5 Ways Your Boss Sees You

It has been really sad to see a slew of my friends lose their job recently. Layoffs and downsizing is rampant in the oil and gas industry, which dominates the economy where I live.

Everyday it seems that I am reading in the newspaper or on social media about another batch of layoffs that continues to put highly talented and capable professionals out of work.

I can only imagine the stress these people feel when faced with such bad circumstances. Mortgages still need to be paid. Groceries still need to be purchased. And soccer registration is due at the end of the month.

Whether you are reading this and walking through a layoff, sitting in your office hoping they don’t call your name next, or if you feel secure in your position and just wonder what “they” think of you, hopefully this will help you as you look at your career development.

The bottom line in how professionals are evaluated by their organizations is what value they bring to the team. Andrew Neitlich suggests there are really only two ways to bring value to the team.

The first way is to bring value through your strong network of relationships.

The second way your bring value to your team is through your strong technical or functional skills.

It is the combination, or lack thereof, where we are able to identify how your boss sees you.  Use this guide to identify where you sit and assist you in your career development:

  1. “The Sitting Duck” – this professional has low functional/skill value and low relational value. Many recent college grads are seen in this light. While they are paid relatively low, my advice is to get out of this spot quickly.
  2. “Caught in the Middle” – this is the absolute worse place to be. You might be making good money, but people are questioning the real value you bring to the team and are starting to question if you are worth it.
  3. “The Guru” – this professional has amazing functional/skill value. They are amazing at what they do and the organization is much better because of them. The problem is nobody really knows who they are or what they do.
  4. “The Networker” – these professionals bring great relational value to the team, but if they are not able to close some deals they can be seen as an “empty suit”.
  5. “The Double-Spiker” – these professionals are the top 1-5% in their industry and they are paid that way. They have mastered both their functional/skill and their relational network.  They have “spiked” functionally and relationally. They are seen as INDISPENSABLE to their organization and their network.

Obviously this is a moving target, but are you able to see yourself in any of these caricatures? Based on where you best identify yourself, do you know what your next steps need to be in your career development?

Here is the good news: your career is yours. Take action and start building it today.