Everyone naturally brings value to their spaces and conversations. All outcomes are determined by how much you allow yourself to add value to the situation. Sometimes, whether it be at work or in every day collaborations, it is challenging to remember how to successfully bring your value to the proverbial table. Here are five easy reminders to ensure that you don't stifle your value...and the value of others.
#1: Assess Your Role
Everyone has a role in a conversation. Some are there to share the vision, others there to receive and make deliverables, or others to just be a advising witness. Knowing your role in a meeting ahead of time really helps to ensure you are bringing your right strengths and mindset. It can become challenging if the expectation is for you to be there to share a vision, but you ask others to lead. Or you are ready to dive in and delegate, when actually you should be receiving the tasks. Knowing your role creates more value in what you share in that space and makes for a better use of your time.
#2 Listen to Understand, not to Respond
Humans naturally process information to do something with it. In most cases we communicate with the habit of wanting to get our own perspectives heard. If you are like me - a great debater - I usually have counter responses on the ready. This can be counterproductive and potentially make others feel unheard. Instead, listen to what is being shared and then actively show you were listening. This could look like echoing back what you heard and how you understood their statement, or simply structuring a response that directly connects with what they have said. Reassuring understanding of others' views shows your ability in being collaborative and a good listener - which are high valued qualities in most group settings.
#3 Quality over Quantity...Always
This challenges the status quo because there is this unsaid rule that you must be seen to be valued. I challenge this by asking you to consider: 'What if someone shows up every day, but does not participate, how much value are they really bringing to the overall goal?' What you bring to the table is more important than how many times you take up a seat. That being said, it is more beneficial to show up on the ready when you know you will bring quality to the group. Don't take up a seat or air where others may bring more than you can. Yes, it is okay to miss one meeting - you can catch the next one and they will remember how you shined then, and not the time you weren't there.
#4 Role Model Psychological Safety*
For you leaders and managers in your area, prioritizing a culture of psychological safety increases your value in any space. By ensuring that others feel comfortable sharing, without fear of punishment or humiliation, is an ability that greatly influences the success and longevity of collaboration. By creating a space for all to be seen, heard, and feel valued, translates to how valuable and positively impactful you are with others.
#5 Be You
The most important reminder is to show up in your truth. You naturally hold a specific piece of the puzzle that connects to a larger and meaningful whole. Do not hold back on what you have to share, because it may be the very thing needed to solve a problem, empower someone, or reach another level of success. Being consistent with who you are builds trust with others to know they can rely on you for the value that you naturally bring. So don't stray from being who you are. Lean on the skills and gifts you bring. No one can do what you do, the way you do it, like you can.
The next time you are requested to a meeting, asked to join a group think, or start preparing for a family talk, reflect on these five reminders to get you ready. Implementing these five habits, in no specific order, will fuel your confidence in being a valued participant in any setting. So go show up, be present, be heard, and stay true to you!