Unleash Your Leadership

#2: How to stop being too nice and reclaim your power!

February 06, 2023 Priyanka Shinde Season 1 Episode 2
Unleash Your Leadership
#2: How to stop being too nice and reclaim your power!
Show Notes Transcript

Is being too nice hurting your career growth? Are you consistently missing out on opportunities to become a leader. Leaders don't hold back and so shouldn't you. Join me as I share how to get past the lump in your throat and put your voice out there.

Check out the corresponding blog post 

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 Hello everyone. Welcome to Unleash Your Leadership.
Today I wanted to talk about a topic that's really close to my heart. If you know me from earlier in my career, maybe about 10, 12 years back, you probably know that I was that person, the person who was too nice. I always. Had a hard time speaking up for myself, and maybe it was the way I was brought up, the cultural setting I was in where speaking up for yourself or taking a stand for yourself, interrupting others, questioning people, especially those in more authoritative positions was a big no-no.

And so the things that you learn when you're young carry on to your adulthood.  and sometimes that doesn't really serve us as well, especially in the modern workplace because leadership in the modern workplace really looks different. There are certain traits and characteristics and just certain ways that you wanna embody that leadership.

And I know when I moved into a role that was highly people oriented, I had to work with people to, and influence without authority. , if I think about it, it was not just authority where you're thinking about people in high power positions, there's a power dynamics at play. There's often that hesitation to say something.

In my role, I had to question everybody a lot. When is this done? How about this? , what is the problem here? And sometimes you just don't feel like you, you know, have the voice to say it.  that that role required me to get work done through others, so I had to rely on others to do the work. I had to hold them accountable, and that is where you'll constantly need to speak up.

And sometimes being too nice doesn't serve you well, and it didn't serve me as well. . I remember someone coming up to me and saying, you are too nice, or, I heard this like, Priyanka is too nice if I think about it. What they were trying to really say is, in this role, you cannot get things done by being just too nice.

Which is true because I, as I thought about it, as I dug into it, I understood that I had to prove my credibility over and over again in other ways.  because maybe I was too nice. I was not speaking up, I was not taking a stand for myself. I was not clarifying things. And let me tell you, it does get tidying having to prove yourself over and over again.

And sometimes you just wanna do it in the moment and not dwell on it. Because what happens is a lot of times when, when you feel like you are being misunderstood or not treated fairly, maybe there are certain assumptions that are being.  and you don't say anything. It just leads to more resentment after you maybe don't like the person, so you don't talk start, you kind of talk less and less with that person.

You maybe don't like the company or the role or you know, there's so many things that you can start thinking about like what is not working out here, but sometimes it can just be where you just need to take a stance and be firm. And so I want to tell you that. . If you have observed leaders in the world, they don't become leaders by holding back.

They become leaders by really pushing the envelope. They're direct. They're firm. They take a stance. And let me tell you this, not being too nice doesn't mean you have to be rude or you have to be this mean person. No, you can be not too nice. , you can be firm. You can stand your ground without being mean.

And that's how I want you to think about this because I understand that oftentimes when we hold ourselves back, there's often a fear. There are doubts. What if I say this? How will it make this person feel? Will this person feel bad? Am I putting them on the spot? What will they think about? . So as you can see, it often comes back to you because the first thing you're thinking about is, oh, I don't want to ruffle the feathers.

I don't want to rock the boat. I don't want to make this person feel uncomfortable. At the end of the day, your what your is, if I do something, what is this person going to think about me? Is this person going to think badly about me? Have a negative emotion? And so a lot of times what we want to always do is be nice people, please.

because that seems easy to do, at least in the moment, but there's more of the after effects that end up hurting you. So think about if you have come across as that person who is not speaking up or not really just putting yourself out there. How has it impacted your career, your. . And again, sometimes it doesn't have to be in workplace settings only.

It can also be outside of it. I, I'll tell you a little, little funny story because this often happens to me, and even though I'm talking about this and I do this much better than I used to do this then or so years ago. So when I go to a restaurant, for example, and maybe I ordered something and maybe the auditor isn't that.

Okay, and, and like, maybe there's something's messed up or something's missing. I, I, it could be any of those things. Now, instead of complaining to the steward or whoever the person who is serving, I was like, okay, let's just, you know, it's okay. Like as long as I'm not allergic to it, as long as it's not something that I don't eat at all based on my food habits.

It's okay. Like maybe there's too much extra dressing as dressing on the side. It's okay, I'll, I'll delete it. . And so I feel like even, I don't wanna like bother the, the server. There is no, no real authority here. I'm paying for the meal, so technically all the power dynamics is in my court. , but still sometimes it is like just don't wanna bother somebody doing something.

So you end up like eating this extra thing even though I don't want to. So it ha it can happen in other places outside of your work too, is what I'm trying to say. And some people are really good at being really good at taking a stand for themselves. If they don't like something or if they are uncomfortable with something, they will say, have your compassion, keep your niceness.

but still be nice to yourself along the way as well. If tomorrow you're in a meeting or next week or the week after, and you're starting to see some of these things where you have this urge to speak up, or you are feeling that somebody's not able to understand you or not giving you the answers that you want, brushing away something or dis being dismissive, think about what you want to.

and how you can at that moment stop being too nice. I wanna talk to you about how, what are the steps you can take to reclaim your power?  and stop being the overly nice person that is great to work with. But that's all we want to do. We don't want them to be get into leadership roles, or we don't want them to become managers, or we don't want them to give this big projects, or we don't want them to give projects that might be too complex.

So the first thing I want you to do is find the courage in the moment to speak up. And I know this is hard, so I wanna give you a few tips to practice for the next week or two. I want you to really think about these moments, start becoming more aware of yourself and what you're thinking in the moment, and then what you might think after those moments pass away where something happened, where you really felt bad and you had this whole inner dialogue with yourself about saying something.

I want you to become aware of. I want you to notice physical signals that you might be encountering. So for example, maybe your heart is beating a little bit faster. Maybe you are clenching your teeth or maybe your fists, there could be other. Everybody has a different way to react, and even before your mind can process it, your body's probably already starting to react.

Maybe you're sweat. So notice those physical signals and know that this is that scenario where I wanna say something, I wanna say something, but the words don't come out and it's set sort of like stuck here in your throat. And then after that situation passes, you start building this dialogue with yourself and you're just feeling low and just trying to rectify the situation in your head.

So once you start observing that, then what I want you to do is the next time it's happening and you now notice it. Now, I want you to ignore those physical signals. I want you to ignore what this person in your head is telling you to not say anything and sort of survive and preserve yourself. And just go ahead and say what you want to say and I'll, I'll come to the second point, which is how you want to say those things.

But really what I want you to think about is, Blurted out. So for example, if, if you asked a team member a question and this just gave a very dismissive answer, maybe there's a follow up question you can ask. Or maybe you can just re-ask the same question again. I don't think I got my answer. Can you please tell me how X, Y, Z?

Right? So I just wanted to get past that and say, And then I wanted to do the same observation again and document it for yourself, which is how did saying something, how did that make you feel? And what was the impact on the overall situation? So now you're collecting your data. So initially you're collecting, I felt like this, in this situation, I didn't do anything and here's how it went and here's how I'm feeling now at the end of the day.

And when you start saying something, or at least build up the courage to say one or two things. Then you do the same thing, which is, okay, the situation happened, I spoke up. What was the impact? And how am I feeling at the end of the day? And notice those differences and analyze those differences. And I can guarantee you that you will feel better at the end of the day.

And the more practice you do, the more you use this muscle, you are going to be able to start doing.  and it was something similar I did, I would just, okay, let me interrupt one time. Uh, and I would either raise my hand or do something to gain attention, to be able to interrupt, and then I would say what needed to be said.

The second thing then I want to do too, is how you're going to say what you want to say, so how you want to communicate directly. And be firm, but be straightforward. You don't want to beat around the bush. You don't want to start sounding like a little polite and just say what you want to say and stick to facts and data because we all know that it's hard to argue with facts and data.

You are not coming across as subjective emotionally. You're coming across as objective. I noticed X, Y, Z. Can you tell me more? That didn't really answer my question. Can you give me this answer, Ari? Can you share the same level of detail in the next time I ask you something like this? When you just sticking to those facts and objectives, the other person is more likely to respond to it.

You're not pointing a finger at the other person because I know you don't wanna put them on the spot, but you can say that something wasn't done correctly. Without pointing a finger at them or without saying, you are doing this or you are assuming this, right? You can just state the facts. For example, a lot of times I have had this experience where the assumption is always that I don't understand the technical details of an area that I might be leading, and so there are certain underlying sort of comments and sentences that come across, and so in that moment, You can just repeat like, I need to do X, Y, Z, technical things.

So would you give me that information? Or if it's really where that, that assumption is coming across loud and clear and everybody in the room feels it can say, I have an engineering background, or I have a technical background. So whatever you tell me, I can assure you I will understand. So again, you're not saying why are.

treating me this way, or are you making assumptions that is not how you're, you're just stating a fact and stating how it might help us move forward. And the final thing I want you to do is find an ally. It is really, really important for us to have a community and allies around us because these are people, one, they will also give you feedback, but they will also stand up for.

or help you stand up and do it more for yourself if they're in these common forums as you are. I've had that happen to me as well. So there is an example that I've shared, uh, previously, which is I was in a meeting and I had a male engineer next to me and I had a female engineer on the VC from another team that I was working with, and there was something that needed to be done on their end and I just said, okay, can you send me this particular file so I can go make these court updates or configuration?

all she said was, oh, I'll send it to this other engineer who's sitting next to me. So I'm not the engineer in the room. So then I requested again, I was like, no, can you send it to me? This is just a simple thing so I can go ahead and do it. I don't want to bother him. The response I get again is, oh, I will just send it to him.

And so this happened a couple of times, as you can see, and the reason I'm calling out who is a male engineer and a female engineer is because, again, it, it is. Where, you know, certain people make certain assumptions. There's a lot of unconscious bias in in our heads, and so this person just stood up for me.

The person who was sitting next to me is like, no, can you just send it to Priyanka? She'll do it. In that moment, before I could say something for myself, this person really just stood up for me. I mean, that's a moment I will not forget. So, because I'm very thankful for that person to. Obviously I didn't go out to them and say, can you be my ally?

But they still did. But sometimes you do need to go out and build allyships. You need to talk to the people who can support you and give you the courage and give you the confidence as well. So make sure you talk to people who maybe you trust. , maybe they're friends at work, colleagues that you admire, and you can learn from them by observation.

But you can also have them say, I would really love to do things the way you do them. And I'm sure people are always willing to help. People are always willing to share with you. So I hope this is something that is helpful because one of the key things I want to help you with is to get to your goals faster.

and sometimes there are these things that are not necessarily very clear to us that hold us back. I want to call that out. You want to give it a name and then you wanna see how you get past it. Because like I say, every person has a leader within themselves, a leader in the meeting. We want to unleash that leader.

And let me tell you, it is something that you'll do it once in a certain situation and you'll be able to do it again and again there, and then a new, very different situation pops up and then you might have to learn to do it again. So it is still something that you'll have to do over and over again, whether you are a new leader, whether you, whether you are an individual contributor or whether you are a seasoned leader, maybe in a director position, there are always situations that will come up.

it might be slightly different, but at the end of the day it might just feel rubs you the wrong way and then you have to rectify it. Sometimes we can't recognize those situations because they may be so brand new and they sort of just suddenly like slide in and get out. And before you can react with, we can say, should I say something?

The moment has. You will always be doing this observation and learning from it and doing it. It is not tied to all your a junior career person or a senior person. It can happen to any of us. It's not tied to gender either. It can happen to women, it can happen to men. It can happen to any person. But here's the thing, good leadership is not based on gender, not based on senior.

It's not based on your ethnicity, your race, none of it. There are certain characteristics of good leadership, and one of them is standing up for yourself because once you can stand up for yourself, you will be able to stand up for the people you lead. That is really, really important because your people will trust you to lead them when they know you caught their.

When you can give them air cover. So I hope you found this helpful. If you have questions or if you have other ideas about leadership or just want to talk about something, please feel free to connect with me, LinkedIn and my website, www.tpmify.com. I'll see you. Next week. Bye.