Have patience for educating

It’s easy to point the finger when peoople (and groups) don’t “get” you, don’t engage with you the way you or your projects need or simply step around you.  “They don’t know this” and “They don’t get that”.  Instead, add a line item to your responsiblity list: educate people about what you do and how you do it.

Teach, mentor, educate, communicate, find right.  Seek to understand.  When you do these things, people want to work with you, not around you and they’ll know better how to access and engage your greatness so you can do more of the work you love in the way you love to do it.

Problem is, this takes work.  It takes time and it taks patience.  And that sucks when you’re on the defense for your time, energy and have deliverables to…deliver.  Here are some things I do to get into those mutual understanding moments.

  • Add a single line to your emails that let your readers know what you love about a current project. (if they know, they might do more of that with you)
  • Start a sentence with “Help me understand…”
  • Follow up with “Great, where I (we) fit in best is….because”
  • Invite stakeholders to your weekly team meeting (makes them feel special and they get an insideer view of what you do).
  • Build a deck of “what we do” and shop it around for feedback (people love giving feedback) and then take the feedback, or don’t, but in the meantime they’ve heard your story.
  • Start a sentence with “We do our best work when…”
  • Reward and acknowledge people for engaging with you in the ‘right’ way.  “This is exactly the right time to come to me”

Try a few of these and see if people get the hint.  It’ll take an investment, but advocating for your best work through educating others has payed off well for me, I hope it will for you too.


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