Don’t let them ignore you

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October 30, 2019

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We all want to be recognized for our talents and efforts. In fact, in a world where we take more than 93 million selfies a day, being ignored is certainly one of life’s biggest disappointments. One long-held suggestion to avoid being overlooked or taken for granted is this one: “Be so good they can’t ignore you.”

It’s advice offered by comedian Steve Martin, author Cal Newport (in a book with the same title) and printed on T-shirts and wall posters that adorn corporate breakrooms across our country. No matter our objective – recognition that leads to a promotion or simply the satisfaction that comes from a boss’s or colleague’s “good job” – excellence that demands attention seems a logical and valuable strategy.

Here are five attributes that can make you so good that you cannot be ignored:

1. Great attitude is a key factor in your success and ability to be noticed, whether you’re a golf course superintendent, golf professional or club manager. Savvy employers hire for attitude above other attributes. Stated in the negative, no one needs a grumpy or uncooperative manager leading today’s work force. There is enough friction in getting operational teams to perform at the high end of their capabilities without someone with a negative attitude pulling us down.

According to author Emily Smykal, whose findings were part of a CareerBuilder study by Harris Poll, nearly three in four employees (72 percent) spoke to the power of a positive attitude. “Positivity leads to a more productive workday and creates a better environment for fellow employees,” she writes. “Great employees consistently stand out for their upbeat attitudes and earn positive reputations for themselves.”

Building and keeping an attitude that leads others toward common goals requires a comprehensive understanding of the job’s requirements and a willingness to teach others to work harder, better and smarter. What’s more, great attitudes are contagious.

2. Eager learning keeps everyone involved sharp. Constant learners tend to be open, creative and receptive to new or different ideas – even if they’re someone else’s. Heather Huhman wrote on Glassdoor that an eagerness to learn shows openness to new ideas, willingness to think beyond today’s facts and invaluable curiosity. Robert Half, a specialist in recruitment and employment services, recommends that every resume show an eagerness to learn. This trait adds value for the employer and expands the performance potential of the employee. When you’re learning and growing, you are becoming a more valuable employee and one whose contributions are easily recognized.

3. Trustworthy teammates, especially in troubled times, are valued for their consistency, stability and integrity. Difficult and exigent circumstances reveal those who can stand tall and steady in crisis. One’s day-to-day commitment to being a trusted and respected teammate is manifested in a thousand acts. Ensuring that your actions match your words is an important trust-builder, as are genuine eye contact, thoughtful interactions, an openness to criticism, and the willingness to express oneself openly and with trust.

The world champion sprinter Carmelita Jeter breathlessly testified to the power of trusting teammates at the 2012 London Olympics when – after running the anchor leg on the women’s 4x100-meter relay team, she said: “I knew they trusted me like I trusted them. And I would not let them down.” Jeter and her trusting teammates bested a world record in the event that had stood for 27 years.

4. Mental toughness is critical when we encounter adversity, in life and on the job. Are you resilient and persistent enough to overcome challenging circumstances? According to Inc. magazine, qualities that make you mentally tougher are patience, perspective, focus (on priorities) and the willingness to confront adversity. The mentally tough understand that criticism or adversity is often not of a personal nature and see it as an opportunity to keep pushing toward their goal.

5. Careful planning – Planning is critical to sustained success. Managers who take a focused approach to plans and planning outperform their club’s budget. Advance planning reduces risk as managers identify potential threats and opportunities. Established, well-stated goals and objectives simplify and clarify your intentions.

Henry DeLozier is a principal in the Global Golf Advisors consultancy. He is currently Chairman of the Board of Directors of Audubon International.