I have never been prescriptive on my learning. But I felt there is a universal appeal to this set of learning I had. Everyone have their own learnings in their career, and they use it as their guiding north star. Here are my learnings that I learned hard way. To summarize, skills I want to write about are
- Being Assertive
- Effective Communication
- Healthy Boundaries
There is a fine line between Being Assertive, Aggressive or Being an Asshole. It’s hard to tell this difference in group interactions. Trained eyes and ears can figure when those lines are crossed.
Aggression is trait you see in combative war field or in sports. It is seen as a positive trait in that field. Aggression in personal life or at work might hinder you from producing intended result. If you want to rally your troops to common goal a dose of aggression is required. A scenario like, introducing new product line or cultural shift or transformation.
being Assertive is mild brother of aggression to achieve the same intended result. Finding a common ground and common good is a good starting point but at times taking a stance and making it hard for others to change your mind is required. It speeds up the decision-making. But there is a fine line when and where it is used. I have seen leaders do it when their troops are wandering or make a quick decision on little amount of data. Quick fix is required but used with caution.
Then there are
assholes I define them as people who lack empathy, treats others with disrespect and refrains from taking feedbacks.
The principle, is to take the ego out and focus on the common good, purpose to achieve a goal. Making it everyone’s success than an individual. We have to remember that, one cannot do everything by themselves.
We all know communication is key to one’s success, but how much do we see people giving importance to it. Keeping everyone informed is not communication. Having people in loop is not communication. I have seen confusing periodic status is communication. It is about be clear, concise, improving process that eliminates repetition is my definition of communication. Communication should enable unblocking others.
Documenting, being transparent and a sincere engagement is communication. Caring for a thing is root of everything. When you care, you do things that matter. Leaders who grew in their career prioritized empathetic communication. They cared for their people and communicated with precision. They were transparent and made it with common good in their intention. Furthermore, they made sure people win, so they win ultimately. I have published my notes on communications in this blog.
“Setting boundaries is a way of caring for myself. It doesn’t make me mean, selfish, or uncaring, because I also care about the well-being of others. When I set boundaries, I’m more likely to be seen as compassionate.” – Brené Brown
Setting boundaries is caring for oneself. More you love yourself, less nonsense you tolerate. No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. To say No is a major portion of time management. One thing I learned is seeing big picture and reflect where you want to go constantly. Healthy boundary is important for career longevity. I myself have been the person who finds it hard to say No and take on work. But what I found is taking help on prioritizing my work. Talking to your leader and team we can find common grounds and agreement. This I felt is an effective way to start draw boundaries. It is hard skill, but it will help reduce burnout and make you productive. read more
These 3 are not distinct ones, they are related, and you might have to do all three to be effective sometimes. Most of the learnings I have here is by my trial and error. I have my share of burn-outs and key baseline is to look for long term career impacts and productivity over time.
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