By Mindy Bortness,
I want you to own your stuff. It’s as simple and clear as that when I’m working with anyone in an organization, from the leaders to employees (and even potential employees as they are interviewing).
I remember a time when I was working with a group of individuals, and one woman in particular stood out. I gave her, and the rest of the team members, a science-based assessment that evaluated her behaviors, motivators, skills and more to reveal a very detailed profile of her whole self. Upon turning the assessment pages – which explained how she preferred to work, how she deals with conflict and ideal working relationships – she got stuck on one small phrase. The report said she liked recognition and praise.
“That’s not me,” she insisted.
Then, something interesting happened. The other individuals in the room each gave her a dose of reality.
“Remember when you stood up and smiled from ear-to-ear when receiving that award?” someone said.
“You love to win, you love the recognition and we love that about you!” another person chimed in.
“That’s totally you!” a third person exclaimed!
A sense of thoughtfulness came over the woman. You could see the change in her face. “Wow,” she acknowledged. I do see that in me…and I can see it as a positive or negative.
One of the most difficult things to achieve in the workplace is gaining objectivity, especially when it comes to self. Every individual is saddled with years of experiences, biases and self-perceptions that makes it difficult to look inward, and at others, for who they really are.
I’ve found, when a person strips away all of that baggage, they’re able to do something quite unique. This individual can see his or herself more clearly. The newfound reality usually breeds a sense of gratefulness. When working with clients, I see them begin to see themselves for who they truly are and develop an appreciation, and relief, for how they’re wired.
Over my nearly two decades in creating hiring intelligence and communication strategies for organizations, I hold reality as one of my core values. The foundation of reality comes from one important action: trust the data.
Just like the woman I told you about earlier, she had a difficult time trusting the data. Interestingly, she self reported that she was a person who loved praise and recognition when she was completing the assessment. Yet, when the data shined a mirror back on her, she initially rejected it.
Aside from the science-based assessment she completed, she also had another point of data. She had her colleagues around her in a trusting environment to verify, anecdotally, that the data was correct.
One of the amazing things about fostering a sense of reality in others is once a person has it, it can speak volumes. It can spark self-discovery, deepen self-respect and make a long-term impact in career growth. And I mentioned a sense of relief earlier. That may be one of the biggest gifts. Understanding that it’s really quite great to be you. And then to use what you know about yourself to be an even better version as you more consciously grow.