5 ways to stick to your convictions during teamwork
Don’t be a pushover in the office – prepare ahead of time, and learn to say no
There is plenty of room at the table for ideas and input
Collaboration is key to succeeding, which means it’s important to play nice with your colleagues.
But you don’t want to be seen as an ineffective pushover. Here are some suggestions for how to stick to your convictions without losing your friendly attitude.
1 TAKE OWNERSHIP Tap into a greater sense of responsibility to the business and those around you. Don’t be afraid to step on toes. There is plenty of room at the table for ideas and input.
Get on top of the key issues affecting your company or your team, develop a proposal to address them and share it with others.
2 PREPARE AHEAD OF TIME Because you’re more easily swayed by the opinions of others, spend time in advance of critical meetings to decide what you think.
Ask yourself: what are my top three ideas about the topic? Write them down so you can access them quickly during the meeting. But don’t be so wedded to your ideas that you dismiss your colleagues’ contributions. Instead, use your own ideas to build off theirs.
3 INCREASE YOUR ABILITY TO ADVOCATE Frame your message so that people immediately understand why they should care and how your idea connects to the bigger picture. Speak in tight bullet points to ensure that you communicate crisply and clearly. Once you’ve made your point, ask for feedback.
4 HOLD YOUR GROUND When others challenge your beliefs, it’s tempting to give into their perspectives, but that only relieves your feelings of anxiety temporarily. Ask yourself: is a desire for being liked or a fear of rocking the boat stopping me defending my convictions?
If a colleague interrupts or starts to dominate the conversation, let him finish but don’t forget to return to your original point. Or, if necessary, use a nonverbal cue, such as raising your hand, to signal that you aren’t done speaking. You could also say, “Hang on a minute, I’d like to finish this thought.”
5 LEARN TO SAY NO GRACIOUSLY How often are you persuaded to attend a meeting or change your schedule to accommodate the needs of others? Your job is not to take on other people’s problems. Offer your counsel, but be careful of always being the one who gives in.
If you stand your ground more often and increase your ability to influence people, you’ll be a better asset and gain more respect from colleagues. –Copyright Harvard Business Review 2015
Previously published in The Irish Times.
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