Being fully cognizant of your skills and behaviors as they play out in the workplace is empowering. Being excessively involved in your own self-interests isn’t.
Self-awareness starts with humility. At work, it’s not all about you or me. It’s about the value you bring, with the needs of the work being more important than your needs.
If this sounds harsh rather than obvious, then you may want to rethink the way you see yourself in your job. It may mean the difference between getting ahead, going nowhere, or heading out the door.
Replace ego with we-go.
Jobs can be hard to come by these days, even though it’s been shown that we change jobs every 4-5 years. Reasons for changing are many, but usually it’s because advancement opportunities seem unlikely or we don’t “fit” what our jobs require.
Too often no one is leveling with you about why you’re unlikely to advance or giving you the feedback you need to “fit” the work successfully.
Sometimes you don’t get that feedback because your boss or coworkers sense that your ego–your self-absorption–is impenetrable. They suspect you’ll get defensive, resistant, or so emotional that their message won’t get through. So they take the avenue of least resistance and say nothing, assuming you’ll just self-destruct.
Workplace success is about “we,” as we-go, you go.
Self-awareness begins the cure for self-absorption. Looking at your behavior as it appears to others can be difficult, but if you want to build a sustainable career path, it’s essential.
Ask yourself and then others whose opinions you respect (not just those who will tell you what you want to hear) if you may come across as:
- Needy–always wanting others to assist you
- Insecure–continually asking for approval, praise, reinforcement
- Superficial–caught up in what everyone will think about you
- One-upping–stealing the show, taking credit, puffery
- Shallow–being thin-skinned, over-reacting, defensive
- Self-centered–making everything about you, selfish
None of these behaviors are terminal for your career. You just need to know how to wean yourself from them, since they aren’t doing your career any good.
We’ve gotten accustomed to living in a so-me world. Social media was lured us into creating our own personal celebrity on line. We are constantly out there telling the world to:
Look at me. Listen to me. Read me. Follow me.
The fact is that at work:
It’s not all about you. But a part of it is.
You were hired because you’re especially good at something important to the job.
It may be:
- A skill–modifying software, writing snappy marketing copy, organizing documents
- Subject matter knowledge–operating procedures, compliance regulations, PR
- Abilities–writing, public speaking, defusing conflict, sales
Zero in on your strengths and knock yourself out developing them to their fullest. Bring those strengths to your work, volunteer to contribute them to other projects, and tell your boss that you’re more than willing to help out whenever those capabilities are needed.
Now it’s not about you; it’s about what you’re contributing to the company, your colleagues, and your boss. That’s the personal brand you want.
You get noticed for what you do well and consistently without complication or drama. You get ahead when others come to depend on you for your expertise, ask for your help, and recognize the value you bring.
As you build your core skills, you’ll also be developing new ones which will add to your arsenal. When what you’re about is not about yourself but about work, you’re career will soar. Be ready.
Photo from inspiredgiftofgiving.com