You want to advance in your career, of course. What is the most underrated trait that will help you earn a raise, get promoted, and gain the respect of you peers at work? I would argue it is this: clear, direct honesty,especially with your superiors. Of course, it is possible it will backfire. Your bosses may hate you for it and fire you (which is fantastic because that is clearly is not the kind of place you want build your career). But most likely, they will absolutely love you for it because true honestly in the workplace is in short supply these days.
How I Learned the Value of Being Clear and Direct at Work
I used to be extremely polite and political at work. I thought avoiding conflict was the best way to please everyone and advance (and to be honest, I was intimidated by the thought of any conflict with people in more powerful positions, fearing that could limit my chances for career growth).
Then I was lucky enough to work closely with a boss who changed my perspective totally. She told the truth to people in power, ruffled feathers, and downright pissed people off sometimes. At that time, I watched her and judged her, thinking she should handle things more like I was – cool, careful, kind, and cautious. She eventually left the company, moving on to bigger and better things, leaving me to assume many of her responsibilities. I quickly found out that people above me and below me didn’t respect me nearly as much as they had her. Niceness is often taken as weakness in the business world. I behan to adjust my approach and started to emulate my former boss. It was stressful at first; however now I have far more influence at work than I ever had before and I am able to use that influence to push things the best direction for everyone.
I used to think that my previous boss was unnecessarily blunt. Now I realize that the only way to avoid conflict is to cede your influence to other people. If you truly care about your company, your coworkers, and your career progression, you have to be willing to stand and speak from the heart. If you are at a decent company, you can indeed accomplish great things by being the one person in the room who will stand, be fearless, and fight for the things you believe in.
The One Trait You Need to Succeed
Success in your career will come down to much more than what shcool you went to and whether or not you can complete assignments on time. It isn’t enough to do simply do good work. You need clear, direct honesty and backbone to make a difference at your job and to truly launch your career.
Many people struggle to take on this assertive role at work. I think it is especially hard for women because a woman taking charge can so often be viewed in a different light than a man doing so. Sadly, sexism is still alive and well in 2016. A great resource for women who are striving to succeed in the modern workplace is Sheryl Sandberg’s instant classic Lean In.
Tommorrow at work, speak your mind. Your company and your peers need your insights.