“I just want a seat at the table!” exclaimed Alex, a twenty something working in the public safety sector. Alex was ready to seize the day and take on the world, but there was one thing in his way, himself.
Like Alex, I too was eager when I was younger. I wanted to make a difference and feel valued and appreciated. What I didn’t realize at the time was that it took just that, time. You have to consistency show that you are worthy of a seat at the table.
Have A Seat
I remember Thanksgiving and Christmas at my family. The kids and adults were separated at two different tables. The “big” kids wanted so bad to be at the adult table, I definitely was one of those. When I was finally given that rite of passage, man was I on cloud nine. That was short lived. Life at the adult table meant I was more responsible and growing up. After a couple decades there, it really isn’t what I thought it was cracked up to be.
When I started out in the public safety community, I thought I knew everything rather quickly. I naturally am a quick learner who loves learning everything about a topic possible. The exposure to situations early on gave me experience to handle emergency situations, almost like it was second nature. What I didn’t know at the time was I was not as versed with dealing with people as I thought.
6 Keys to the Seat
Everyone wants to feel valued. We lose people each day because their company or boss didn’t value them, at least they didn’t feel like it. Sadly, many companies lose hard working, engaged employees simply because they weren’t valued. Personally, if your employee has to wonder if you value them, you aren’t valuing them enough to show it.
So what does it take to be invited to sit at the table?
It does take time. Time is actually your friend, not an enemy. Each day provides you with more experience to make better decisions than the day before.
You have to do what you do and do it well. Then repeat, and repeat again. Consistency builds trust. Trust is one of those things you need the most to be valued.
Your performance can’t be mediocre. If you’re consistent, but mediocre you haven’t accomplished much. Perform to the best of your ability, not for anyone else, but for yourself. Do yourself a favor and learn at every opportunity.
Trust is a mixture of several key components, behavior is one. You must have a behavior that is predictable. People don’t want to invite people to the table if they don’t know who will show up. Check the temper, ego, and complaining at the door and perform in a trustworthy manner.
The right attitude can make up for shortfalls elsewhere. Think of people you know who may not have been the strongest person at a given task, but their attitude more than made up for it. A bad attitude can spoil a whole bunch.
Take responsibility. Sometimes it will be when things go wrong other times it will be a project or task. Take on responsibility to prove you have something to offer. Don’t defer the responsibility when things go wrong, ownership can go a long way.
As with everything in life, there is a caveat to sitting at the table, and it is a big one. RESPONSIBILITY. Make sure you know that it is what you really want.
Question: What can you do today, this week, and this month to prepare yourself to sit at the table? If you’re already a leader, what advice would you give to the next generation? You can leave a comment by clicking here.