In a perfect world, merit alone would be the key driver behind career growth and development.
Unfortunately, Corporate America is far from a “perfect world.”
In an corporate environment where mean people earn more, I think there are several lessons that all individuals can learn from “mean” people if they want to see their career grow. As a self-proclaimed, and humbly affirmed, “nice guy” who has gone from entry-level HR Assistant to Interim HR Director of a 1,200 multi-state Federal Contractor to now HR Consultant, I can say that I got here by being nice but I didn’t let humility humble my growth.
Here are three ways humility can humble your job growth:
You won’t toot your own horn. How many times have you heard a manager or co-worker give you a pat on the back or send a congratulatory email for your hard work on a project? Not often, right? Well if people are rarely shouting praises about you then you have to take that responsibility upon yourself. When speaking with your manager and other persons of influence, learn how to build in the milestones and achievements that you’ve accomplished. “Mean” people do a great job of explaining their case and so should you!
Being humble can make you “blend in” very well…. too well. Pop quiz! Think back to high school or college and think about the most humble person that you can remember. What do you remember about them? As I am thinking back, I can only remember the fact that this particular person was “nice.” I can’t attribute any measurable achievement even though I can remember that they were just a nice guy. If humility trumps your ability to promote yourself then you may run the risk of blending in with the walls as opposed to standing out as a leader or person who has accomplished notable things.
You’ll quiver come performance review time. Performance Reviews are often hampered by a concept in HR called the “recency effect.” The recency effect is a term that describes managers who can only recall information that has happened within the a “recent” time frame. When managers fail to remember your efforts and you are humble about bringing them up, this makes for a terrible quiet storm that results in lower marks than you could’ve received if you only were able to speak up!
What can humble people learn to help grow their ability to communicate past accomplishments and to navigate career growth in spite of “mean” individuals? Here’s a list:
- Learn to confidently talk facts and figures.
- Document past performance so that you can remember it come performance review time.
- Let your personality shine through in conversations and in the workplace.
- Develop leadership potential by offering to take on tasks that “lead” rather than “support.”
- Learn to speak up and talk about yourself – that isn’t a crime :).
- Never forget your career goals and what you wish to accomplish – and always be in the drivers seat of making sure you get there.
Leadership Takeaway: Humble people need a boost. Don’t let your humble people go unnoticed but learn to encourage them to grow. Jumpstart:HR can help you learn to engage your humble individuals in a way that shows you care.
Human Resources Takeaway: The performance review process can be riddled with human error and inconsistency. Learn how to create a consistent performance review process that eliminates these things and gives all employees a fair review process.
Professional Development Takeaway: Humility can hinder your career by way of missed promotion or failure to network effectively at business functions. Schedule a chat with me and learn how to incorporate skills that show you know how to boast but not at the risk of being “mean.”
Let’s face it… Some of your best talent’s New Year’s Resolution might just be to leave your organization. Don’t believe me? Check out this new article on Inc.com to understand why some of your brightest stars might be planning their escape in 2012 (or may have already begun the process!)
A quote from the article:
Sometimes great employees leave because you can’t afford to pay them more and they can earn more somewhere else. Unfortunately, that happens. Often, though, great employees leave because your company has changed—and they don’t want to change with it.
Here are six of the top (non salary) reasons your best employees will leave:
Looking for an objective and knowledgeable resource to help encourage your talent to stay? Contact us to learn more about how you can encourage and engage employees which ultimately leaders to higher retention and stronger company culture.
Taken from a GREAT article on Fast Company:
- Every element of their work will be pored over by multiple layers of bureaucracy. Even if that’s how the rest of the company operates, it can’t spill into the digital department. In a technology environment, new products and businesses spring up daily and a new endeavor can go from conception to launch in a matter of months. Reining in the momentum will be read as inaction and a clear signal the company isn’t willing to grasp the new way of the world.
- Mediocre is good enough. While clocking out at 5 p.m. is attractive to some, it will discourage digital talent. They want to be expected to do something great. They want to be pushed. They care about their work. Their leadership, and those they rely on to get things done, must match their appetite for success.
- Trial and error is condemned. The freedom to try out new ideas allows employees to take initiative, make decisions, and learn from their mistakes. It also demonstrates an attractive and inspiring entrepreneurial spirit.
- Your company is structured so it takes a lifetime to get to the top, and as such there are no digital experts in company-wide leadership positions.Digital talent–often in their 20s and 30s–need to see a clear path for uninhibited career development that’s based on merit, not years spent, and that’s beyond the confines of the digital department. If they don’t, they won’t see a reason to stay with the company in the long term.
- Your offices are cold, impersonal and downright stodgy. It may sound like it conflicts with the “you don’t need to be in Silicon Valley point,” but appreciate the nuance. A traditional office layout is designed to communicate power among certain individuals and barriers between departments. This does not support the collaborative ethos which is intrinsic to the web. Companies should do everything possible to provide the digital team friendlier, open office space. A location in a hip, young neighborhood (which surely exists in every mid- to large-sized city) is also a big plus.
What do snowflakes and people have in common?
Neither of us are alike!
So how, in a “people” profession, is it possible to effectively engage individuals on a personal level while maintaining a credible vantage point from a more macroscopic corporate level?
It’s time to put the “Human” back in Human Resources.
I highly suggest all professionals in the field do a bit of self-reflection to help determine the best way to engage the world. How can you understand the needs of others if you don’t even know how to correctly identify your own?
As individuals, we are all wired differently: emotionally, physically, academically, culturally and professionally. Having a great sense of self, identifying what truly motivates you to do a great job at something and knowing what matters most to you (personal value system) can go a long way in making sure you are an honest and true “people” professional. These are important traits to have when others rely on you to advocate for their best interests while maintaining corporate responsibility.
It’s also important to understand the “platinum rule” which says to treat people how they wish to be treated. Having a high emotional intelligence makes interacting with colleagues much less frustrating as you first seek to understand them before trying to engage in a matter that be might met with resistance.
I highly encourage all professionals to read the book “The Platinum Rule: Discover the Four Basic Business Personalities and How They Can Lead You to Success” and taking a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality test.
As Human Resources professionals, it’s essential that we are very strong when it comes emotional intelligence and understanding the “people” aspect of our profession. Not just for our personal sake but for the sake of those around us and the advancement of the industry as well.
– Joey V. Price, Founder of Jumpstart:HR
P.S.: I’d like to wish my brother a happy birthday! (Happy birthday, James! 🙂 )
I shared this answer on LinkedIn and it was chosen as a Best Answer. Here are the top three reasons why communication fails in an organization and how to fix it:
Communication fails for three reasons:
1) Lack of clarity in the message of the presenter.
2) Lack of comprehension or misinterpretation by the receiver.
3) Assumption by presenter that receiver has shared knowledge/background on material being communicated and therefore critical fundamental/contextual pieces are omitted.
How to fix this:
1) The presenter must state at the beginning what they intend to cover/communicate.
2) The presenter must ask the receiver to repeat back the message and mutually agree that message was understood.
3) Ensure that on-going lines of communication are established in the event that questions arise.
If you would like consultation on effective communication, contact us.
Do you have any other advice on how to communicate effectively? Got an example of bad communication? Would love to hear your insight!