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    Gisele is a Certified Executive Coach working with leaders seeking to enhance their leadership presence. See her profile.

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    On the growth path!

    They don’t know what they don’t know! How many times have you heard that? It is a true statement and a good argument for empathy for your colleagues.  How can you hold someone accountable for something she does not know?

    Truth is, anyone engaged on a growth path, be it professional or personal, must be engaged on the road to reduce “what they don’t know”. In the same manner you start saving money for buying a house or towards retirement when you start earning decent wages, you must start reduce the “what you don’t know” when progressing in a professional career.  This is the path we are all on, otherwise, there is no progress.

    According to Jeff Brown and Mark Fenske, authors of “The winner’s brain”, science shows that those who remain in the dark about their shortcomings may unwittingly doom themselves to failure. Wow!  This is no small statement.

    So, what are your shortcomings?  Any clue?  I don’t mean the obvious such as discomfort when speaking in public, or challenged with multi tasking, or the favorite aspiring candidates’ line “I can be impatient for results”.  I mean the reasons why you get unintended results too many times despite your best efforts?

    Still according to Brown and Fenske, the parts of the brain that are involved with proficiency of a task are also the same parts that handle proficiency awareness.  This means that your brain does not know that you are not good at something. Think of your brain as your mother.  Nothing you can do can be bad!

    So how then do you know?  Get feedback.  Ask friends, colleagues, your boss, a mentor, a spouse….anyone you trust.  Consider working with a coach who has various tools available to do exactly that, or develop your own tool.  A really easy one to start with is to make a list of everything that matters to you from a professional perspective (if you don’t know what that is you can start with what is expected of you at work.  Take your job description) and rate yourself.  Then ask a trusted colleague to rate you.  Any significant discrepancies (and there will be, trust me) is a starting point.

    Having your least favorable side exposed may be uncomfortable, but more difficult than that, is to pick yourself up every time you fall flat on your face and don’t know why.

    How you lead yourself, and others, matters.

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