No matter what your position, you can do more for yourself and your organization by knowing when to push, how hard, and how much.
The best, most innovative, and successful people that I’ve worked with have developed an instinct for this, the most prevalent characteristic, of personal and organizational growth traits.
Here is how it works:
When: This is a trial and error trait. All of your senses are required -including your political, social, and management personality sense. Just like cattle in a pasture successfully test the electric and barbed wire fences, you need to successfully test your timing, tempo, and approach. Small testing efforts, as in broaching the subject or discussing concerns and new ideas; usually work best.
How hard: Hard enough, but figure that you will probably need multiple tries – each more detailed than the last. Think four to five tries. As usual, always document your efforts. Right now, email and organization communication systems work great (a caution – if you are documenting a breach of ethics or a personal grievance, you need to look at other options).
How much: This involves reading other people and managers as well as new and ongoing situations. It is a good instinct to develop. Something proposed to one person at one time may not work due to factors including interpersonal relationships, internal or external pressures, and other priorities of the organization’s strategic plan.
Keeping track and authenticating: This involves building your case and being able to defend it. It may mean having a grasp of accurate facts and figures and examples of success. It can be as simple as maintaining a file folder with clippings and correspondence or a digital one in your inbox or desktop.
Be prepared to take on a bigger role: In most instances, the development of a new program or positive change in the direction of the organization is a rewarding part of working there. At other times, decision makers look to people that are passionate enough about a proposal that they look to them to develop or oversee it.
Appreciate your success. Ever notice how many of the heroes in today’s media more often than not are surprised to receive the recognition they get. Good managers give credit where it is due. Great leaders at all levels of an organization, grow profoundly from accomplishing meaningful change.