Sometimes back one of the middle management executives in a nice job came to me to get his profile reviewed to make a move in his careers to next level role. Lately he had some struggle in presenting his best in interviews and making his case. During our short talk, he showed some signs of low esteem as well.
During the discussion I asked him to make a comprehensive list of all the capabilities and unique selling points from his own introspection. Boundaries i gave for the list were to list down those things in which he thought he was either the best at or considered that he was able to do it better than his peers around him. He came back with quite a long list. As a next step I asked him to go over his past and current job experiences and list down all the achievements, accomplishments, awards, USPs, certificates, appreciations, etc. corresponding to those listed capabilities. He came up with a pretty impressive list of over 30 claims of varying degree of transformations and bottom-line differences he had made.
For the next meeting, I asked him to bring a published or unpublished document, certificate, award, email or any other “verifiable” evidence for each and every accomplishment (and hence capability) he originally listed.
Several weeks later he appeared with evidences for about 5 of over 30items. He made a startling revelation that during this exploration, to his own amazement, he could not source a whole lot of “verifiable” artifacts for most of listed items. Upon retrospection he revealed that he was not really best at many things he listed earlier and in several things he was probably not better than he peers too. Most of the achievements were self-acclaimed. That probably explained his low-esteem during interviews.
Then I told him to build his portfolio of evidences for those items he was really good at. Guess what? He came next weekend with a pile of documents and I could see the energy, passion and his vigor while he was explaining me the l relationship of the artifacts he brought with his claims. These were the “few” things he was able to do relatively “better” than his peers around him (as evident from his evidences). He found that there were just few of the areas of his achievements which had recurring patterns of evidences repeating at several points in his career. He simply could not identify that resonance. Answers to his self-esteem issues and key to his success were right there in his day-to-day activities he was doing in job for years.
With that understanding, set forth on a journey to ride upon that tiny list of his key USPs. Within few months he was able to move to next level and seemingly was quite effective too in his new role. He just needed to identify that “one” thing from his day-to-day work he was best at rather than sitting in some complex “transformational” leadership classes.
Let me share one thing that even though this case looks like career coaching, in reality it is about leading yourself in something in which can lead others as well. Doing what you can do best is a leadership in itself. I have seen this being true in with several other cases too. The bottom-line is that if you are “best” at something, you better be able to support it with verifiable evidences which can be seen, read, felt and recognized. The evidence could be in form of a simple appreciation e-mail. The scale of the evidence may not matter to begin with.
Once you identify the “one” thing you are best at or something you can do “better” than peers around you, you set a new path for your own self-leadership first before you embark on leading others.
Stay tuned for several other techniques to find the “one” thing in your day to day activities in your job, in your office and in your own personal life.
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Raman K. Attri is a Training Transformational Consultant, Learning Strategist and Researcher with rare experience in shortening time-to-proficiency of employees performing complex jobs at complex organizations. Strong believer in personal performance as the starting point of any world-class leadership, he developed a scientific model Personal Resonance© to achieve peal personal performance and self-leadership. Additionally he helps trainers, learning specialists, instructional designers and training professionals with articles on proven techniques to transition successfully into training and learning management role.
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