You may think you're the office superstar, but the full picture is probably more complicated.
"Do you think you're a star?" bestselling management author and CNBC contributor Suzy Welch asks. If the answer is an automatic "yes," you might have what's called "illusory superiority," or "superiority bias."
In other words, your ego may be too big. And according to Welch, acting as though you're superior to others at work can damage your reputation and prevent you from growing professionally.
On the other hand, maybe all the encouraging words in the world aren't enough to convince you you're doing a good job. That self-doubt may be hindering your ability to become the team leader you're actually capable of being.
To determine exactly where you stand — and identify areas where you may need to improve — Welch suggests asking yourself five questions:
If you're looped in on emails with people above you in the management chain or know intricate details about your company's plans moving forward, that's a great sign, Welch says.
Knowing more about the company's inner workings than your coworkers means that people respect and trust you.
Hearing someone sing your praises is an obvious sign that you're valuable to your team. But getting negative feedback isn't always a bad thing, either.
"That's actually a sign," Welch says, "that your boss cares about your development."
In fact, too little feedback may be the bigger problem.
"Be worried when there's little to no feedback," she says. "That can mean you're not worth the boss's time."
If your manager or someone superior to you disagrees with you or challenges you, even in a meeting, don't panic.
This occasional back-and-forth, according to Welch, is "a sign that your boss has started seeing you more as a peer," one whose perspective "cannot be ignored."
"Another way to check your stardom is if you feel you have more work than you can handle," the bestselling author says. "It's tough, sure. But it can be a sign that your boss is trying you out for your next role."
Having your boss see you as the go-to employee is a definite positive, even if it means more work. It may even be a sign you're being considered for a leadership position. Put in the extra hours necessary to get it all done.
"Embrace that challenge," Welch says.
"If you're asked to meet clients, customers or job candidates, those are all good signs," Welch says. "Companies don't want to send anyone out into the world besides their stars."
Accurately reading your boss's behavior isn't just a great way to develop awareness of your strengths, it can also help you identify areas where you may need improvement — before they become a problem.
Either way, focus on communicating confidence and commitment to your team, rather than arrogance or superiority.
"If these signs all sound familiar to you, maybe you are the star you think you are. That's great," Welch says. "If not, it may be time for a reality check."
Suzy Welch is the co-founder of the Jack Welch Management Institute and a noted business journalist, TV commentator and public speaker.
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