I had my annual review on Thursday, and while it’s not exactly conventional to announce your biggest area of improvement to the whole world, I want to be held accountable to improving on this and I’m hoping that posting about it will do that! Basically, what my biggest area of improvement comes down to is this:
I need to talk more.
I need to share my opinions more in groups of colleagues – especially at the management level, so that they can see that I aspire to become a leader and have the insight and drive to go there. I have this mentality that since I’m not the expert in the room, I should listen and learn from those who are. What I need to realize and embrace is that even though I don’t have the same number of years as others, I still have valid opinions that could help in some way. Even if they don’t help in any way, at least they will demonstrate to others part of my potential. Because not sharing anything means not sharing any of my potential. And that doesn’t do anyone any good!
It’s funny, because I have no problem injecting my thoughts and opinions into one-on-one conversations with managers… but when it comes to a group, like at a committee meeting, I have no drive to speak. And I don’t know that it’s any sort of complex about talking in front of groups… because I do that all the time… it’s more that I want to learn as much as I can before I go being presumptuous and speaking when I shouldn’t. I need to get over this and start sharing my thoughts on a consistent basis. This blog helps because it helps me shape my opinions about things without having to come up with things on the fly, which will make me more confident to share. I sincerely hope that with my move to another city and nonprofit I can truly spread my wings and talk more in groups!!
I’d appreciate ideas any of you have to help me work on this issue!
“I have this mentality that since I’m not the expert in the room, I should listen and learn from those who are.” <- I tend to think the exact same thing, but you are absolutely right. Though we may not be experts (yet!), having a "fresh" perspective on things can sometimes be valuable in itself. I think asking questions (why, how, can we..?) can sometimes help. It's one way to show interest in learning, while respectfully nudging the "experts" to explain their logic and/or reconsider certain ideas.
Thanks for sharing! 🙂
This is actually a piece of feedback I received too during my internships as well as the first year of my career. After reflecting on it, I realized while it was largely b/c of my introverted personality, it was also a result of my fear of failure. I was terrified of saying something dumb, and because I was new to the environment and was still a novice on whatever the topic was I just stayed silent. However, my mentors had to point out time and time again that nobody expected me to be right (since I’m young and inexperienced). They just expected me to think about things and participate in the discussion.
I will say that I’m still working on this fear of speaking up when I’m brand new to something. Basically now I try to be more conscious about when I legitimately have nothing to say bersus when I am hesitant to speak up b/c of my personality.
Hope that helps!
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