How many of you avoid situations that make you uncomfortable, even if you know that behavior is holding you back from reaching your full potential? You’re not alone and it’s nothing to be ashamed of because you can change the behavior by Starting Small and working towards getting more comfortable over time. Here are two scenarios that hold people back from advancing in their organizations, despite being highly skilled or experienced in the fields.
Avoiding interaction with “higher-ups”: I’m not saying you should hang out in front of the top boss’s office all day attempting to get her attention to brag about your latest success, but don’t go out of your way to avoid management altogether because you’re uncomfortable speaking to people with more authority. Organizations are flatter than ever before and here’s a secret for you; management likes to talk to employees of all levels and not just about work either. Most executives are more approachable than they are perceived to be and they are interested in hearing what’s going on in your world because it helps them understand the current environment, both internal and external.
If you avoid interactions with people in other levels of the organization, it will hold you back because someone else in the organization is just as skilled but they’re doing a better job talking about successes and engaging with management. When a higher level position opens up, that person has an advantage you don’t. Be intentional about seeking interaction with management a little at a time. Talk to your boss’s boss at the company picnic or holiday party for instance. Be your own advocate because if you don’t, chances are no one will know how awesome you are because your boss may be taking credit for your ideas.
Spending money: Many of us in the business world are great at managing finances but are uncomfortable spending money on things, even if we know it would improve the customer or employee experience. Don’t go overboard and spend every dime, but take a look at your habits and views on money to determine if your personal habits are holding back your organization. Many of us would have a hard time spending our personal money on a lavish dinner so we avoid doing the same when entertaining employees or customers.
Begin to look at each opportunity not as a cost to the organization but as an investment in the future. Does the investment have a good chance at generating a higher return than its cost? An example is employee turnover. How much is it costing you in training costs and lost productivity because you don’t want to pay what your competitor is, spend to remodel the office, etc.? Develop your spending muscles by taking some employees out to lunch. It won’t bankrupt the company and it definitely won’t hurt morale. As time goes on, ramp up your spending to match your goals for growing market share, etc.
This is simple, basic stuff, but it affects individuals and organizations everywhere and it all goes back to being intentional about your goals and having the courage to gradually change behavior to achieve those goals. What other behaviors are holding you back? I’d love to hear them!