Square peg, round hole. Not a fit. Round peg, round hole. A fit. Yet nothing stands out. If the fit is really good, the round peg blends right in with the rest of the surface. How do you fit in and yet be known for something?
This is a dilemma a client recently faced as he took on a new role at a new company. There are those awkward few days of simply learning how things work; that’s just part of it. The challenge my client faced was how to meld with a team and yet become known for his leadership capabilities.
We began our work together identifying his goals and what he wanted to achieve from our work. One of the objectives was to become “more assertive” and to “demonstrate” his leadership skills. He was focused on emulating his boss, a worthy undertaking.
The rub with that is that his boss’s style is so very different from my client’s. Quick to conclusions and direct in his delivery, his boss commanded the respect of colleagues above, below and laterally. A great person to learn from yes, but not to emulate.
You see my client’s style is thoughtful and calm. You might even say soft-spoken, yet a conviction underlies his communication style. He garners the respect of his peers, those he manages, the very large end client and his higher-ups. “Exceeds expectations” is the summary pronouncement on his recent performance review.
Although his initial request was to demonstrate leadership by being more assertive, my client accomplished his success by building on his natural leadership ability. Thoughtful and calm are only the beginnings of his style. He has come to know his natural talents and put them to work in the real-world in day-to-day challenges. He did not alter his style, he strengthened it and he did that through knowledge and application of his top 5 and 10 strengths.
What could knowledge and application of your strengths bring you? Do you need to fit in yet be known for something to get to the next level? Let’s take what is already naturally great in you and leverage it to “exceed expectations!”