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When Loyalty Turns Naive

We’re discussing The Silent Achiever this week. We’re looking at the person who trusts the system to reward his or her performance according to company policy.

I regularly emphasize self-awareness, because, more often than not, when we feel betrayed by the system it is our own naivety and/or blindness that got us into the position where others can exploit or harm us.

Let me clarify that I am not blaming the victim here. I am trying to empower those for whom their heightened sense of loyalty and cooperation leads them to trust where trust is not due and who then find themselves overlooked or taken advantage of yet again.

While systems are designed to be fair in principle, in practice there are a host of complications. Busy supervisors often aren’t aware of your efforts. Ambitious co-workers talk themselves up every chance they get. In these situations, your quiet loyalty has the opposite effect that you intend.

What you need are ways to keep yourself in your supervisor’s range of vision. Stop by her or his office occasionally to share a bit of news about something you’re working on. Pass along interesting news clips related to your company. Have a weekly, “Thought you’d like to know…” that you use to keep him or her informed. Speak up in meetings, even if just to make a passing comment like, “Good point,” or ask a question.

Instead of silently cursing the unfair system while congratulating ourselves for our quiet cooperativeness, let’s work on finding more visible expressions of our commitment and loyalty.

What’s one new way you might show up more visibly? (Without, of course, morphing into the obnoxious co-worker whose form of self-promotion offends you so.)

On your side,

– Karl

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