Do you see a thread here? A thread of opportunities, like mine, where you were elected, promoted, or saw a chance to inspire a group of people around a goal or cause. It was obvious to everyone else that you had definite leadership qualities and the presence of a leader, yet you may not have seen it or felt it for a long time. You never laid claim to having leadership skills. It was just something you did.
Discovering new things not only make us feel good, it allows us to grow and stretch from where we are today. Now that we are able to once again meet in person, take the chance to start that conversation with someone who is not in your circle of friends or colleagues already. Having that exchange, whatever the outcome, you both win. Denying yourself the opportunity to learn and grow from interactions with people different from ourselves, keeps you from experiencing a “yay” and what could follow it.
Have you ever felt you like you were giving your all to the organization and you were being appreciated for that?
You understand how motivating that is.
Colleagues of mine who are career and leadership coaches were having conversations with African-American clients about African-American women not receiving recognition in leadership and therefore making a pivotal decision: leave their jobs and organizations mid-career or at least consider leaving. My mentor, who helped launch my leadership business, thought this was such a common experience she encouraged me to write about it.
I took her suggestion to heart and wondered – how common is this self-conversation and pivotal choice? Was it different from the conversations other women were having with themselves at the same point in their career?
You may have found it amusing before that Millennials and Gen Z’s co-workers, friends, relatives or your own kids spend so much time with their video games; you’re probably not laughing any more as you see yourself playing more Candy Crush, Far Cry Primal, or Words with Friends. What are you doing with your downtime (if you have any)? Can it be helping your leadership skills for the future? Yes. Here are some popular examples.
Is building a strong network important for you? Or is it only for those other people? Years ago, I attended a panel and drinks for Williams College alums in New York City, where I live. A graduate, who is a friend, invited me. The panel was on Millennials who had made it in the media world. One of the strategic development executives on the panel said that he rose in the ranks at the large agency he called home, not because he was better qualified or had a better resume, but because of his network and his determination to building strong connections. He was known for being a master networker. If anyone needed anything, he could find it.
Can you laugh with me? The best moments come from laughter: finally seeing behavior that is limiting or counterproductive to your goals, minimizing the challenging tasks ahead of you so they seem less overwhelming, and bringing your true personality into call rather than the serious role you think you have to play. Laughter, fun, and play are crucial to overall well-being for everyone. And, (drum roll), often lead to the biggest breakthroughs. How do you bring your playful side to work?
“As a manager, you had to be honest with them, but you had to build them too. Even when they didn’t know they had to be built.” ~ Berry Gordy. Berry Gordy’s desire was to bring out the best in people. Then he could reach his potential in some way. Berry’s why is the spark in my why. Wouldn’t you want to work with someone who recognizes your uniqueness and wants you to reach your potential?
Can specific habits be keeping you from the recognition you deserve? A promotion, raise, public relations attention, or more responsibility? You may be super organized, your ideas have solved a myriad of problems, and you’ve saved or made the business many dollars. These wonderful results may not be what people are paying attention to. It may be something completely different.
When differentiators are obvious to people, they focus on what makes the other people different rather than what makes them similar. It happens with races, cultures, generations, sexes. Those differences in recent times are criticized. What about if they were celebrated? What if those differences were actually talents? Seasoned people have experience and wisdom. Young professionals have a long list of skills.
There’s a lot of shaming about young professionals. You can think it is coming from their Baby Boomer or Gen X bosses who have a lot more life and work experience. That would be the obvious choice. They are not the only ones, however. People born in the Millennial years undervalue themselves and their colleagues just as much as senior professionals. Why? How do you stop this from continuing?