You may be a top communicator, but are you a trusted advisor? It's the crucial issue that will determine your success, no matter where you work. I've got some ideas for how to hit the mark, below. This month, I've launched new pages on the blog about my own advisement services, including:
I hope we'll be able to work together or meet up soon.
Are you a trusted advisor?
Getting accepted as a trusted advisor can feel like a huge hurdle, especially in a new job, with a new CEO, or when you work with experts (about which more below) who always know more than you. But you're more in charge of this aspect of your work than you may think. Try these tactics:
- Create a climate where communications issues become part of the discussion. Make sure the rest of the management team knows what you can contribute to their issues, and don't be shy about pointing out the communications aspects of managing any issue, until it becomes routine to include it. No traction in the boardroom? Call your own monthly meeting with other departments to find out what they are up to, until word spreads that you're actively managing issues and how they work in public. Don't assume they know what you need.
- Don't show them up. Show them how. Since your expertise is likely not your leaders' specialty, use your skills not to show how smart you are, but to help them look smarter--big difference. Making sure they know what to do when you're not there makes you look confident and useful.
- Strike a neutral but thoughtful tone. Don't be crying wolf or overly critical, but do point out possible unintended consequences, and urge colleagues to start anticipating how this will be seen, or how awkward questions will be handled.
- Prove your worth in concrete ways. Skip the shelf of awards. Your best accolade comes when a colleague comes to you wanting help before a problem occurs, because she knows you want to help and are able to do so. Don't assume they know how to make use of your talents.