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How to Demonstrate Value to Your Company

Connie Podesta 12-17

Recently, I introduced an audience to the eight high performance behaviors that can give you the best odds of staying employed. Remember we are NOT talking about necessarily keeping the job you have, but rather focusing on how you can keep income coming in regardless of what may happen to the particular job you have at this moment. I am interested in you having the skills necessary to STAY EMPLOYED even if something were to happen to the job you have. Think of yourself as the CEO of your career. YOU are in charge. And, as a result, you may have one client (job/company) or you may have several clients. When one client is gone (downsizing, layoffs, restructuring, etc.) your number one goal is to do whatever is necessary to begin working with a second client (job, company). It is important that YOU take charge of your career and not feel you are the victim in the world of employment.

One of the strategies I talk about in my book is how to demonstrate that you add value to your organization. For many, this feels easier said than done. A lot of people feel as if their job goes unnoticed or worse yet, someone else takes credit for it. Or they take the "I don't work directly with any customers and I'm not in sales so I can't get my results and numbers noticed. And I am certainly not the type to go around bragging and blowing my own horn."  
My first question is this: Why aren't you comfortable being you own best advocate? That attitude is both self-limiting and self-defeating. I'm definitely not asking you to brag, lie or embellishment your actual accomplishments, but letting people know what you contribute and how you bring VALUE to your organization is definitely part of your job if you want to keep it. Mangers and bosses today are usually swamped--just as you are. They may not always be aware of the extra things you do and bring to the table. YOU had better let them know--through reports, e-mails, discussions that you are a VITAL part of the organization. Vital means necessary to existence, essential. Write down what you do in a business-like manner whose tone suggests you are simply keeping them in the loop. Now you BOTH have documentation which could come in handy later.
Secondly the notion that you don't work directly with customers so you're not valued is just not fact. If that sounds like you, my first suggestion is that you need to broaden your definition of "customer". Your co-workers are your customers, your vendors are your customers, and everyone else you interact with throughout the day are your customers. Your job is to keep them engaged, informed, up-to-date and be the one they can count on to do your part of the job as it pertains to their role in the company. It sounds as though you might not believe, first and foremost, that what you do is VALUABLE and linked to the ongoing financial success of your company. Your job is to work directly with the people who work directly with customers. Their ability to do their job should be enhanced and made easier when you do your job. There is your link to the outside "customer". YOU must believe that your job is important and fits into the overall vision of your company. If you don't see yourself as part of the big picture, then no one else will either. The belief that you bring VALUE must begin with YOU.  
Thirdly, is the notion that if you are in a service or leadership position that you are "not in sales" is just not true. Open your mind to a new definition of "sales". Everyone is in sales, needs to be in sales, and is, quite honestly, expected to be involved in sales--including YOU. The term "sales" no longer applies to just the process of selling a product or service--it applies to almost every interaction you will have at work. Selling can be in many forms--you may be selling ideas to another department, designs to other staff, persuading your boss to try new things, using new skills to help your team--but your ability to encourage, persuade, change and motivate people to action is a skill that never goes unnoticed and is extremely valuable in today's workplace. So how are your "sales" going? Selling yourself, selling your ideas, and selling your value and worth to this company are important sales that you need to be making every day.  
The time when an employee could simply come to work, do the job and go home has passed. Now commitment, vision and top performance have become an integral part of every job. Are you creating visibility for yourself in your company? Do the people in decision-making roles know who you are and what you do that contributes to the success of your organization? If not, then begin today to change that. Begin by selling YOURSELF!

When you were 5, it was all about getting the cookie. Did you ask respectfully and get the cookie? Or did you yell and scream? Did you avoid making waves to get it? Or did you go behind your parents’ backs to get that cookie? Kids figure out what works and that communication style becomes part of their personality.

Being direct and open—communicating assertively—is healthiest and most efficient. While most people have a default style of communication, we all tend to use all four styles, depending on the situation and the person with whom we’re speaking. Communication is a learned skill, but it’s important to know we have a choice in how we communicate.

Passive-aggressive communication is the most challenging for others. If you’re faced with it, you don’t know where you stand; you may think the passive-aggressive is your friend, and you probably open up without realizing you risk being sabotaged. The passive-aggressive mode of operation is: “I will be nice to your face, but behind your back, I will do things to make you suffer in hell for the rest of your life.”

If you’ve ever thought about making that certain someone who needs to be taught a thing or two suffer—even just a teensy bit—you’re stepping close to that sneaky and devious world of the passive-aggressive. Don’t go there.

One passive-aggressive trait is gossiping and tattling. Anyone who says, “I am not a gossip,” probably is. If you hear disparaging words one minute followed by, “But she really is my good friend,” that’s another red flag.

When confronting someone for their passive-aggressive tendencies, realize they are motivated to seek revenge when they perceive an injustice done to them. You didn’t necessarily do them any wrong, but they believe your behavior inappropriate, unacceptable or unjust. Because they often believe their lives are controlled by others, they lack the skill, knowledge, desire and confidence to be assertive.

To deal with someone who communicates in a passive-aggressive style:

Talk openly and honestly to set an example of healthy, assertive communication and to minimize attacks.

Confront them and hold them accountable. Have them say to your face what they usually would say behind your back. If they’re giving you the silent treatment, ignore them.

Do not back down when they’re openly disagreeing with you.

Challenge inappropriate behavior in a positive, upbeat way, but prepare for the counterattack.


The Passive Personality

Another difficult personality is the passive person, who wants to avoid confrontation at all costs. Passives don’t talk much and question even less. They don’t want to rock the boat because they have learned it’s safer.

Passive people lack self-confidence to communicate assertively. They don’t trust other people to respond positively to their assertive attempts. Passive people act like everything is perfect and put everyone else first, but inside, they often are a seething mess.

Why bother learning how to deal with passive people? They are the saintly, never-cause-a-fuss, do-whatever- you-want people, right? In truth, passives constantly create havoc because they never let you know where they stand. They’re too busy keeping the peace.

To deal with a passive person:

Be open, direct and honest, modeling assertive behavior.

Establish trust. Help passive people have the confidence to share their feelings and concerns by making them feel worthy and respected.

Encourage an environment of solving problems and discussing options.

Don’t let the passive person avoid confrontation. Resolve the issue immediately, rather than avoiding the problem as a passive personality is accustomed to doing.

Give the passive person permission to be decisive and praise them for their participation.

Inflicting Anger and Hurt:

The Aggressive Personality

Aggressive personality types use manipulation by inducing guilt, hurt, intimidation and control tactics. Covert or overt, aggressive people simply want their needs met—and right now!

People who communicate aggressively do it because it works. They’re bullies with words.

 Aggressive communicators differ from those who are being assertive. While assertive people are forthright and open, aggressive communicators say what they mean, but they hold nothing back, usually at the expense of others’ feelings.

To deal effectively with someone communicating aggressively:

Assert yourself to neutralize the onslaught.

Confront them. Don’t let them get away with their manipulation or they won’t respect you.

Avoid emotional impulse reactions.

Be clear that the aggressive behavior is unacceptable.

The Healthy Personality:


An assertive communication style is the only way to effectively deal with difficult people. Unfortunately, people use it the least.

Communicating assertively lets people know your needs, concerns and feelings in an open and honest way without threats, manipulation or hidden agendas. Assertive people ask questions, seek answers, look at all points of view and engage in meaningful, open-ended dialogue without anger, hurt feelings or defensiveness.

Remember, you always have a choice in your style of communication. You also have a choice in how people talk to you. Assertiveness will help you diffuse anger, reduce guilt and build relationships professionally and personally.

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