Do you obsess about getting credit at work or in your volunteering efforts? Do you get upset when someone takes your idea and runs with it? Do you feel you should’ve been picked to lead the project but were looked over for someone you perceive as less effective than yourself? Do you feel your children don’t listen to you or do what you say? If so, today I encourage you to shift your paradigm. Be an Influencer rather than a Dictator. Focus on being a “Seed Planter.”
In my own life, when I shift away from focusing on me or worrying about being “in charge,” three things typically happen:
1. I am more effective. When I am focused on what is best for the project , I can more effectively use my skills and expertise to guide the project and persuade the key decision makers. I am redirecting my energy away from unproductive emotions about recognition, toward researching and building solid business cases for solutions to problems. And this typically leads to recommendations I’ve made being more heavily considered and more often implemented. In my personal life, if I whisper a suggestion or ask questions to get my kids to think in a better direction, my recommendation or suggestion is generally heeded. However, when I order or demand, at work or at home, people generally act passive-aggressively, argue, or don’t listen at all.
2. I am more content and less stressed. When I take myself out of the company politics and focus on doing what is right for the project, how I can influence the project in that direction, or ensuring I am keeping commitments and meeting/exceeding expectations, then I am in control. I am not worried about what so-and-so might say or do because I know I am focused on the project outcome…and the people around me know that. They know that I am not jockeying for power or visibility, they know I want what’s best and that I want us and the project to be successful… when we are all successful, I have succeeded. With this common understanding comes peace.
3. I have gotten more and better opportunities…ultimately leading to the credit I’m not seeking. In my 15+ years experience in HR and corporate life, I have consistently seen that when employees or volunteers are focused on getting to the right answer and working on influencing and guiding, rather than manhandling and wrangling, they are perceived in a more positive light. Bosses and coworkers tend to view an influencer as more of a team player, someone who is trustworthy, who has the project’s best interest in mind. In my own experience, I have often times received job offers, new opportunities, or promotion, etc., when I let others lead, while stepping out of the lime light to coach or plant seeds.
To clarify, I am NOT suggesting you be a seed planter just to get the opportunities or credit. I am merely pointing out that when you forget about the credit and work for the right reasons–ensuring you are also working hard and focusing on the project outcome without manipulation or dishonest actions–often times you will also find a positive personal outcome as a bonus. I am encouraging you to shift your focus away from forcing outcomes to planting seeds. Not only is it healthier for you but I also believe you will find fulfilment, happiness, and positive outcomes with your new approach.
Now that I’ve convinced you (hopefully) WHY it is important to work on being Seed Planter, stay tuned for my next post, in which I will discuss HOW to be an effective Seed Planter.
Happy planting my friends…