How do you know that you are doing a great job? Leadership through osmosis
That is the question that many people ponder every day and they do not get an answer. What is missing is that your boss rarely or even never tells you this.
Worse yet, instead of praise that is overdue you get confronted about a few minor details that you may have overlooked during the last project you did. Your leader-manager is practicing leadership through osmosis and you are left to wonder if your contribution really counts.
While you may not be able to do anything about your boss immediately, there are a few things that you can still do to keep your chin above water, figuratively speaking. The first choice you need to make is whether or not you will do anything about this situation. If the pain is not great enough, nothing will ever change and you will continue lingering on without ever getting as much as a tap on the shoulder in recognition of a job well done.
Assuming that you are happy with your career then the next step is to review if there were project or job/ performance bench marks that you were supposed to reach. If not already in place now, at least the next time around make sure that there is a time table and a section dedicated on how your success will be measured. If the project proposal is up to you to generate, make sure you include this yourself. This way your manager need not worry about this, but because he did not have to she will most likely appreciate that you saved her a bit of effort and time. Openly share your expectations and what you will do to earn your praise.
If you do not have periodic feedback reviews with your manager now, ask for some one-on-one time with your leader-manager. Preparation is the key operative word here. Come prepared to these meetings with a list of successfully implemented measures. Openly share your thoughts your performance led to the successes and ask your supervisor if he shares your point of view and what you could have done different, or better.
Sometimes, rewards really take some effort getting recognized for. One sure fire way in obtaining feedback is holding presentations for your department or group in front of departments and / or company. This will do a variety of things for you: The best presentations are the ones held by people who prepare well for it. In preparation of the presentation you end up spending some extra time doing the research work for it, but it will turn you into the subject matter expert of whatever you set your sights on. The outcome is that other folks will benefit team members, the company, the customer, and of course you.
If you did the extra work it will not go unnoticed. That is especially true for department or company meetings. You will get the attention (often this is more precious than praise) of many people within your organization. That can be rewarding already. What if someone in upper management notices it and you have now set the stage for further dialog career path wise?
Bottom line is that your superior (is he really superior?) is guilty of not recognizing your contribution as are you for not bringing it to light. It comes down to the choices you are making. Remember that you always have choices. You often do not make the tough choice like asking to speak with your boss about this and telling him that you are not happy. When all else fails and you have tried everything the problem may not be you at all. When that happens leave your position immediately if you like your sanity. Being around toxic bosses can shorten your life and I am sure you do not want that.