It's okay to know you don't know. And if you don't know, ask and learn. Research other solutions. Find data points to back up your point of view. Share interesting articles that can spur a group discussion.
As a millennial, I know what people are saying about my generation. We’re entitled. We expect hand-outs. We are ambitious, but lazy, hoping that mommy and daddy’s connections will get us that corner office, not our own hard work.
Millennials make up the majority of the early career professionals in the workforce. Often asking WIFM (What’s In it For Me), they want to know how to get a seat in the boardroom, hoping to be noticed.
But, as my colleague Kate Nugent wrote, the path to success may not be down the WIFM road. Rather, early career professionals should ask WIIFT (What’s In it For Them). They should ask what their company and manager needs from them and focus on becoming part of the ensemble first. Here are 5 things millennials can do to build a reputation as a team player and get noticed by management:
- Have presence in meetings. This is especially important when you aren't talking. You may have just given an update, but you should still be paying attention when your team members give theirs. Don’t tune out and look out the window. Don't pick up your phone. Give everyone the attention they gave you.
- Learn that the spotlight is never off you. Whether you are in the hallway, break room, or at your desk, people notice how you behave. Do you sit up in meetings? Are you saying hello to coworkers or darting behind doors not looking to be noticed? Are you always on your cellphone at your desk? Hint: Your manager may not be around, but others see. If you want to get a promotion, you need always act like you deserve one. Be polite to everyone—from the janitor to CEO—and don’t engage in negative behavior.
- Let go of your pride and practice patience. Hubris has caused loads of problems for people throughout history. Odysseus. Oedipus. Like Elsa sang, Let it go! Sometimes you have to make sacrifices, work at projects that may not ignite your passion, but are essential to the business. Your manager will see you as a reliable team player if you tackle these with a great attitude...and may think of you first next time a more interesting project comes up.
- Be curious about the business. It's okay to know you don't know. And if you don't know, ask and learn. Research other solutions. Find data points to back up your point of view. Share interesting articles that can spur a group discussion. A lot of millennials often do busy work without actually reading the information in front of them and then wonder why they don't get more important projects. If you're a team player and understand the business you can add value without a lot of direction...and THAT is what makes you an asset. Asking questions about the business is also a great way to build relationships with other generations in the workplace.
- Let the Joneses do them. You do you. This one is hard for most of us. What is right for the Joneses may not be right for you. There are some things that come across your social media feed that you will be admittedly jealous of and there are some things you will care less about. Is being the VP of that company something you actually want to do? Do you actually want to marry him? (no, he’s weird—she’s nuts for marrying him). Are you upset that you were passed over for a promotion? Instead of getting upset, focus on being the best you can at your part.
Soon management will notice how you shine!