Annie DeStefano: I think it’s a lot of being a team player, being curious, and owning when you make a mistake. I think all of those things are just ingredients that help you build your reputation in an organization. And I would add, being someone that is just reliable. I think consistency and reliability go such a long way. And in particular, when we’re in this virtual environment where people can count on you, knowing you’re going to show up when you say you’re going to show up – it sounds really silly because it’s just really basic stuff – but I think reliability and consistency are great ways to establish credibility early on. I think you’d be surprised how that’s more of a rare thing, than a common thing in many organizations.
Jack Neal: You might say that one common pitfall is the failure to ask questions. One thing that I see young people coming into the company sometimes being unsuccessful is if they think that they’ve got the answer and they try to show how smart they are and demonstrate that they’ve got it. They then make mistakes without asking for help or showing that curiosity, or building their networks and getting support. They’re not expected to carry the load from day one; They expected to seek out help to do things right through things better.
Annie DeStefano: I think the best way to learn is really by osmosis. What I have found to be effective is just shadowing people that are experts in the space, understanding how they run a process, talking to them, asking inquisitive questions, and really just taking a backseat initially where you’re just in that mode of learning and hearing from them. And then transitioning from that phase to where you start to formulate your own opinions on how you might approach solving a problem or how you might approach a process taking the information you learned from them and starting to execute and actually do it yourself. I find that it’s been most effective for me that after I learned from someone else that I actually kind of get my hands dirty and do it myself a few times, end to end, even if I know one portion of that exercise isn’t necessarily a responsibility of my role. I like to learn all the different responsibilities and do them myself, which makes me more informed of what I’m ultimately responsible for.
Sandy Lionetti: I think job number one when you have a failure or setback is to own it. Everybody makes mistakes and has something that doesn’t go right. Most managers understand that, and if they don’t, you probably don’t want to work for them anyway. It’s also the way that you learn to accept that there’s something that didn’t go the way that you wanted or expected it to go. And owning it does allow you to engage in the introspection that allows you to figure out the next piece of it so that you can go forward.
I think the second thing is just to acknowledge that learning hurts. When you’re in school, learning doesn’t hurt. But when you’re out in the real world, when you don’t navigate a situation properly or things are not going the way that you want, you might find yourself staring at the ceiling when you’re trying to sleep thinking about everything you could have done differently. You’ve got to understand that learning hurts and that’s okay. And when you’re going through that pain, just say, okay, it’s part of learning, this is good.
And then lastly, it’s really important to make sure that both inside and outside the organization that you have trusted people around you who can help pick you up. They can advocate for you. They can help you to navigate the next experience. Maybe somebody who you can debrief with to say, hey, what could I have done differently? And importantly, you want to make sure that you have created a pool of people inside the organization who support you and who advocate for you because you’re going to have more credibility when making a mistake if you have people around you who say, mistakes get made, but you know she’s really awesome.
Wei Zheng: With regards to trust or rebuilding trust, it’s not that you have it or you don’t have it. It’s more of a continuous process like making deposits into a bank account. Making a big mistake is like making a big withdrawal and your account is in the red, and you need a continuous stream of new deposits to bring it back. Little things like responding promptly to requests, doing your pieces of the work on time, using your skills to help others out, or big things such as making big project wins, can help you build up your balance. So it’s a continuous process, and you can start small, to demonstrate consistency to make deposits that can accumulate to a larger one. Then one day when you may need to make another big withdrawal (such as asking for others’ support on an uncertain project or making a big mistake), you have enough balance to do that.
Jack Neal: What you can do is control how you react to it. So you know if something is happening and if it’s something that you find that you can live with, even if it’s annoying, you know you can be the bigger person. This might be a difficult thing to navigate. I think this is a place where finding the support and finding the advocates and people who you might be able to have a quiet word with to say what can I do. You don’t have to navigate it alone. If there’s a behavior like that going on, you’re not the only one who sees it. And so if there’s somebody who you trust and who you can have a conversation with in the right way, that might help you either understand where the behavior is coming from or how you can get it to change. Maybe you can find a way to cope with it by engaging other people who are on the team or in the organization.
Annie DeStefano: I would like to add that it’s just a rough situation. I’ve had those situations where you’re with a leader that is tough to deal with everyday, but just remind yourself that this is going to teach you so much in the long term. You’ll always remember that this is what you’re not going to be as a leader in the future. And then try to look at it and frame it as a learning opportunity to where you know it’s tough to navigate. It’s going to be probably one of the biggest learning opportunities for you and how you navigate a situation and you’ll take so much out of it in the long run.
Peter Dominick: The other piece there to is to constantly remind yourself that this isn’t about you and to bring yourself back to that this is something you’re dealing with and as Jack said, it’s about how you can respond to it, but don’t ever let that be something that you’re carrying on your shoulders in that process. And maybe because of that, sometimes a strategy that can help with things like that is a little bit of humor. You know there might be ways for you to raise the issue in a fun or joking way that might especially help you get that person’s attention. So look for those chances to bring that to bear on.