To be productive and successful within a team, make the best use of what you’ve got to work with – use your talents to make an impact.
Earlier, I explained how you can become successful as an individual when the organization you work for is organized around teams. A simple model is the basis for individual success in teams, consisting of three circles: 1. you and your talent, 2. you and the team you work with, 3. you and the organization you work in
In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the inner circle again. In the center of the model for individual success in teams is you. With the help of some practical tips and exercises, you can become “The I in Win”.
Let’s zoom in on the second element of the three elements in the center:
- your values that define success to you (what drives you)
- your talents that you can use to be successful (what makes you unique)
- your experience that you have built up in using your talent (what you already know and did)
You and I, we have to work with what we’ve got. The positives and the negatives. In the past, many managers have urged me to become better at the things that I did wrong in their eyes. At one time, this lead me to believe that I wasn’t a very good consultant. Other people seemed to be far better in the things that I found hard. For example, when I saw how good some colleagues were in making a personal connection on all levels in the organization, I felt a bit jealous.
Then one day, I met a coach who showed me that I do have some useful talents. She told me to make use of my talents.
It dawned on me that when I stopped fighting my own limitations, I could use my time and energy on using my real talents. And by doing that, the practice made me better at using them. The first talent that I learned to embrace was my talent for finding creative and innovative solutions. This has helped me in developing Super7 Operations at ING.
What’s more, it may be hard to spot the value in some of your talents. They may feel as hindrance. In my case, I am quite good at perceiving emotions and stress in meetings. But I couldn’t use that to my advantage. Whenever I noticed some stress or irritation I directly assumed that I was doing something wrong to cause that. And that made me nervous and even defensive. And being defensive is not the best way of cooperation.
First I had to accept that I was sensitive for stress and emotions in others. I found out that I might be a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP). It wasn’t going away, I needed to live with it. When I accepted what I had to work with, I could even see that it could be a useful trait as well. That I could be very empathic. And that is very useful when working in teams, as I discovered. I experimented with using my sensitivity in meetings, conversations and in coaching colleagues.
Accepting my own talents has helped me greatly in my career and in life. Accepting one’s own talent is a crucial element in becoming successful in any organization, but especially in team-based organizations.
Menno R. van Dijk