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Hindsight is 20/20, right? It's easy to find ourselves in situations where if we had just taken the time to be more thoughtful about what we said or how we said it, things could've turned out a lot differently. We've all had our fair share of regrets and fair share of thinking we were in the right. So we talked to seven WeWork members about their biggest takeaway from communication mishaps and how to approach conversations with wisdom and tact.
Question: What's the biggest lesson you've learned from a communication mishap?
Everyone makes mistakes
The funny thing is no matter what processes and systems you have in place, there are always going to be mistakes. The best thing you can do is learn from it and own it. Being genuine is how you build trust for the next conversation.
Don't bottle up your feelings
I've learned throughout my life that bottling in your feelings can eat away at you. Know your truth. Speak your truth. Find a support system that can encourage and motivate you to fight for your dream.
Acknowledge your own faults
People will always remember what you didn't say. Be willing to forgive and forget what you do because people naturally want to forgive and forget—but it's hard to forgive someone who hasn't acknowledged their own faults. We're naturally empathetic to those who show remorse. Same goes for companies. Silence is deadly.
Set clear expectations
When I was just getting started, I was working with a client where I purchased a considerable amount of sample material. The project didn't pan out, which was fine, but I had considerable costs, and we didn't have an agreement to deal with it. We worked it out, but I knew moving forward I needed to lay out the expectations from day one.
Get the big picture right
As CEO, you have to over-communicate, repeat mantras, and regularly talk through positioning and focus—typically team members need to hear it 20 times before it sinks in and it makes sense. Also, get the big picture right and the secondary messaging will follow.
Be mindful of different cultures
Language is not always a barrier, but when it comes to culture, that's something important to consider when you are doing business with different countries. Things are perceived differently sometimes.
Put everything in writing
When I am communicating verbally with clients and we agree on something, I always follow up later with an email documenting what we agreed upon. It is a great way to verify that my client and I are on the same page, and saves me from costly errors due to miscommunication and bad feelings towards my clients.
What's the problem with this story? You're not managing your career. You're doing your work. You're talking to your manager, but you aren't actively managing your career. You're actually looking for your boss to manage it for you. Problem is: Your boss is busy managing his or her own career. So… you need to start managing yours. You need to own it.
Far too many professionals today look to their managers to manage their career path and trajectory when in fact; this is yours and yours alone to manage. It's so easy to get caught up in our work that we lose sight of our career. So, how do you manage your own career with confidence? Here are seven ways you can start managing your career today:
The key to getting what you want is knowing what you want. You must know what you want out of your career and you should be clear about these goals with your manager and your mentor. These goals are also great ways to measure your progress through the year and years in your regular performance reviews.
The hardest thing to do is to hear honest feedback, because it isn't always positive. But, the ability to listen to all feedback and adjust accordingly is what will elevate your career. Be sure you are open to the good, the bad and the ugly feedback. This will help you adjust your work and your goals.
Try to think about your work in terms of NEAR: Numbers, Examples, Achievements, and Results. We all have responsibilities. But the people who stand out talk about their responsibilities in terms of numbers, achievements, and results and they have examples to back it up. What numbers, examples, achievements, and results did you produce this year?
You probably do a great project once per quarter and one that definitely meets the NEAR criteria. You know, a project or deliverable that you are super proud of that contributed to the success of the company. Take that work and store it in a special folder on your computer or in the cloud. Check out Dropbox, CredHive, or Box and start curating your work.
Read industry publications, websites and blogs. Share the best articles and have a point of view of your own. Position yourself as a voice of the industry and a valuable resource within your professional community. When you see great content, make an insightful comment and connect with influencers in the industry.
When a new project comes up and it aligns with your goals, raise that hand. Let your manager or HR team know that you want to learn some new skills or gain new, more advanced experience. Be clear on what you can offer to the project and get involved.
I know you're busy working and getting things done. This is the extra stuff that's required to take ownership of your career. I personally spend a few hours a week in the conversation and connecting with new people. I also spend about an hour a quarter maintaining my best work files and my social profiles. It isn't a ton of investment; it's just a new habit to create in managing your own career trajectory.This post was originally published on an earlier date.