Know Your Value: Increase Your Worth
Three tips to give you confidence in knowing who you are and what you want in your career.
Every coaching session I have, ends up making it’s way to the same question: “Am I providing enough value to the project and team?” Beneath this question is the real query: “How do I know that I am doing enough to keep me on this project, to keep the client happy, to stay at the top of my game?”
One strategy that I see developers taking is to try and get feedback from their team or client. While feedback, when honestly and robustly given, is powerful and helpful - getting that feedback is not easy and often unsuccessful. We end up with a quick “you’re doing a great job.” or “I’m happy with your work”. None of these surface level accolades give us any real information around what we truly want to know: What is my value and how can I continue to bring it?
Until we understand that, we cannot:
- Feel secure in our position
- Advocate for raises and promotions
- Set goals that are intelligent and strategic
- Take actions that make the most sense for our skill set and career objectives
So, how do you know your value and increase your worth? Here are three exercises I explore with my highest performing developers:
1. Define what success looks like for you
“What kind of developer do you want to be?” I ask it almost every session. And I don’t let anyone get away with an easy answer, it has to include:
- What kind of time management skills would you have?
- What kind of communication would you engage in?
- What pace and volume of work would you deliver?
- What personal growth steps would you pursue?
- How much time would you have for yourself and your family?
- What actions would you take to invest in your physical and mental health?
Until you know what you are aiming for - how can you ever expect to hit it?
2. Know how you want to feel.
”I have a hard time setting goals.” he told me, “I just want to enjoy life and have teammates I love working with, who love working with me.”
I stopped him right there, “Then this is where we begin with your goals…what kinds of actions can you take so that you enjoy your life more, and love working with your teammates more?” I could see the light bulbs going off for him, and over the next 20 minutes we set three very specific goals and actions for him to take over the next 6 months that would give him more of how he wanted to feel.
It can be easy to try and achieve goals that look good to others, or are popular, but unless those goals get you to the feeling you want to have in your work - you will lose interest or fail to set any at all.
3. Get honest about your strengths and weaknesses
”What are you best at?” It’s another question I insert into every coaching session. The answer I get back will not only tell me how the person perceives themselves, it will tell me what they value and what they might not be so good at.
What we are best at tends to come at a cost. If I am wonderful at connecting with people (which I am), it means my attention naturally goes toward and is interested by the complexities of the human experience. In contrast, I have less attention or interest left for things like spreadsheets, processes and data. Knowing what I’m good at, and being HONEST with myself, gives me and understanding of what I am not naturally oriented toward.
Once we know the value we bring and the blind spot we hold, we can look at what the team or project needs and make any necessary adjustments. In my case, my job needs me to be exceptional at connecting with, motivating and communicating with people - AND - the ability to track some data in order to assess how effective our efforts are. I know that I can lean into my strengths and I will have to use tools - such as reminders, and time blocking - to discipline myself to improve in the areas I’m not as naturally oriented toward.
Defining what success looks like for you, knowing how you want to feel and getting honest about strengths and weaknesses, will empower you to be the best person to assess what your value and worth is to your client and team.
Small actions taken each day will continue to bring value, and increase your impact and confidence - which is a win/win for us all.
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