Be able to prove what you claim to be
Many of us have become accustomed to hearing or reading exaggerations, wild accusations, half-truths, all-lies and urban legends. It seems the world is made up of those who believe it all and those who believe nothing anymore. However, when it comes to work and our efforts to develop professionally, all of us need to be able to show proof–to ourselves and others–about all the positive traits and actions we claim for ourselves.
Apply that concept when you are interviewed for a position–or when you interview someone for a job. Apply it when you are wondering why your good qualities aren’t being appreciated. Apply it when you want to have a reputation for being a strong contributor, a nice person or an expert in an area. Be able to provide proof in the form of examples over time. If some examples don’t immediately pop into your mind, your good qualities may not be as obvious as you think.
• Do you contribute to your work team in a way that gets good results with them and others? Prove it. What are some things you have done in the past and recently, where others in your group have thanked you, asked for your assistance, referred others to you or when your contribution was requested, needed or clearly was a help? If you really are contributing, you’ll have some examples without thinking about it for a few minutes.
• Do you communicate effectively, even when it’s difficult? Prove it. Give an example of a time in the last few weeks when your purposeful communication calmed a conflict, reduced contention or eased a conversation into a better path. To claim it as a full-time trait, you should have several examples.
• Do you do self-initiated work that is high in quality and high in quantity, based on the needs of your organization and your manager? Prove it. Give examples from the last week and going back for several months, of some tasks you have done that were effective, needed, and self-initiated, while you also did your regular, required work.
• Has someone implied you are problematic in an area of your work and you think they’re wrong? Prove it. Rather than asking them to give you an example of what you’ve done wrong, be prepared to give a plethora of examples of what you have done that shows you are performing and behaving correctly.
You get the idea. Anyone can say they have done good work, do good work and will do good work. The person who is actually doing it will have so many life experiences to draw from that the examples are ready to give. On a regular basis, think about what you have accomplished and what it took to do it. If necessary, make a list to help you remember. Keep an active mental file of how you are demonstrating effectiveness every day.
What if you don’t have proof? If you find you have very few clear examples to provide, consider how to remedy that lack. Perhaps you need to try new methods or be willing to learn new skills. Maybe you need to stop doing some things and start doing others. Perhaps you should back off or maybe you should step forward. Talk to a professional friend who seems to be on track or talk to to your supervisor or manager. Ask their opinions about your work and ask for suggestions about how you can be what you want to be in the best way possible. Then, be willing to make changes or adjustments to do things a bit differently in the future.
That way, if you are developing a resume, being interviewed for a new job or a promotion, or being asked about your work, you can say, “Examples? Sure! How much time do you have?”