It is those small changes in life…

..that make a big difference. Recognizing what changes to make takes time. We are so walloped in life that we are trying to just keep afloat not thinking where that current is coming from and how it is influencing oneself. At times, there is no space to fight the trend and think differently or even think. But there comes times in life when all things don’t go as planned and that is a GREAT opportunity. An opportunity to think about the current and the causes for it. When you do so, you will be able to see why you are not happy as you were or why things aren’t working out. Just recognize that going with the flow keeps you from thinking and when you feel stale, it is time to think or time for introspection.

Just about two years back, I was doing all things right at work. I was one of the most competent persons in our group. This had been so for almost three years but I never felt I had the support or right amount of respect from my peers. They would always appreciate my quality of work, the way I would do things with little or no supervision, my independence and the ability to get job done. But that was it i.e., it didn’t translate to me moving forward or someone asking for me when a new project came up. I applied for a promotion (yes, you don’t get promotions just like that in Corporate America anymore, you need to apply and get it just like a new applicant at least where I work); I had all the necessary experience and qualifications; it seemed I was more capable than the position required but I got rejected. After a discussion with my Manager, the feedback I got was that I need to work on my communication. I knew my communication was good, so I thought about it and realized there was more to it than what was conveyed. During this time, as I have blogged before, I had realized that I would get irritated or angry at things such as when someone screws up something simple or when a vehicle tail gates me or whatever. This anger would show off in someway and that would come out as unpleasant in the situation. So end result, at the work place, it translated to me being ‘difficult to work with’.  That discussion I had with my manager nailed in my conscience that I need to make some changes in how I deal with things. Next time and time after time, when there was an opportunity to get angry, I would immediately think about how to see beyond my initial knee-jerk reaction. It was a matter of few months that I started reacting better to situations. You see, once you get angry, that lingers in your conscience and that sour-taste affects your mood, your decisions, your whole persona for a long time. But once you react differently and feel good about it, it starts to build the good energy in you and that starts showing positively in all things you do.

Whatever you do has the ability to become a habit. Once you can deal with a challenge in a way that makes you feel good, the same mindset becomes a habit. That is what happened in my case. I started to deal with situations at work better and better. I would make sure at the end of every conversation, that I did a good job of making the other person feel good. Now, there are situations where you need to be firm – like when someone screws up again and again; you need to let the other person know about it in no uncertain terms. My tolerance for incompetence is pretty high now-a-days and it takes a lot of incompetence for me to lose my cool and I admit that has happened. Anyway, to continue, I started doing thing more and more right. I would ensure that people on my team succeeded in what they were doing. I would make sure they felt good working with me. I would look over their oversights and let them know about their shortcomings. In effect, I was acting as a leader. If you look at what it requires to become a leader, competence is the lowest requirement. Anyone with some training can become competent with the skills required; in a way that is no big deal. To be a leader you need to be more than competent. Here is a summary of what it takes to be a leader:

– Competency (Problem solving skills in general in addition to job-specific skills)

– Ability to be a teacher of the competency

– Ability to enable others for success and making them feel good working with you

– Clear communication is a must

– Ability to work with everyone

After my recognition of my core weakness, it almost was as if other strengths started developing within me. I am proud to say after my transformation, I not only got the promotion I had been earlier looked-over for but also got the coveted ‘Consulting Excellence’ award for 2012 – this is the highest honor a consultant can get in the company! Small changes make a big difference; while it takes time, it pays off big not just materially, but definitely in making you a better person.

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