Motivation: Being Bold Can Hold You Back

Team work. How many times have we heard this in our life time? Sometimes being to bold can actually hold us back and we need people around us to get the job done. Andrea Zintz is a career coach with some great and quite frankly hard hitting advice. Here are three ways that showing you belong to the group can pay off for your career.


Building a group identity that will strengthen relationship connections and bonds. 

When someone contacts me to say they are part of a group that I am part of or identify with, I give them special attention. We, as humans, are group-oriented social animals. We begin our lives in family groups, and as we continue to behave as members of groups at school, work and in communities, we see that groups can provide a safe, nurturing, non-judgmental environment where members can feel accepted and emotionally supported. Showing you are part of the group builds these critical connections that will serve you throughout your career.


Gaining “forgiveness points.” 

We are all individuals with the choice to conform to the group norms or stand out as distinctive. Both are important in balance. In my life, I have always stood out as very energetic, bold with my ideas and someone who dresses more colorfully than others at work. This was a problem for me early in my career, because groups tend to like conformity – especially in large corporations. The rule here is – you can be as different as you are perceived as credible. You must be aware of and respect this balance. If I have a bold personality, I will demonstrate other ways I conform – through how I dress and my valuable contributions to the group goals – to generate a balance.  This earns “forgiveness points” from members of the group who will say, “She may be different, but she is terrific!” However, here’s a caution: In a situation in which you want to impress and be accepted by others, ask yourself whether an action conflicts with your values, and consider whether you would be willing to compromise your own opinion of yourself just so others would have a higher one of you. Ultimately, you are the only one who has to live with your actions.


Building a reputation as a team player

You can do this by 1. demonstrating reliability – being counted on as one who gets work done and her fair share to work hard and consistently meet commitments. 2. Communicating constructively – speaking up to express your thoughts and ideas clearly, honestly and respectfully. 3. Listening actively to understand and consider ideas and others’ points of view. 4. Behaving as an active participant – prepared for team meetings and being fully engaged, and taking initiative to make things happen. 5. Openly sharing information, knowledge and experience and keeping others informed. 6. Cooperating and pitching in to help – working with others in partnership to solve problems. 7. Exhibiting flexibility – to deal with changes and adapting to new situations, considering new points of view. 8. Keeping your sense of humor and having fun – of course, not at another’s expense, but in a professional manner.

Overall, showing belonging means looking beyond your own piece of the work and caring about the team’s overall work. In the end, it’s about seeing the team succeed and knowing you have contributed to this success, which delivers returns to you as your large fan club.

Andrea Zintz, PhD 
Career Coach


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