Don’t read this if you are under 35. It won’t make much sense. Then again, if you read and understand it, you can improve your ability to work well with mature managers.
Professionals are intentionally developed. Through involvement in projects and initiatives and departments through your career, the best of who you are is evident. There is a skill to gaining enjoyment and value out of who you are. There is an art to applying that value to your daily business endeavors. You can be the best you, doing the most fit assignments and have a great amount of fun. Or not. Choose. Make sure you consider your Three Hats before you choose. Be you.
A friend reminded me that people focus on your weaknesses because they struggle with allowing your strengths. People are like that. They pick at what they don’t understand in the most negative ways. But you don’t have to let pickiness impact your confidence and connection. You just need to work on your Three Hats.
This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day,Thou canst not then be false to any man
Three Fields of Play
First, let’s take a look at three fields of play. Then we can talk about the Three Hats.
Play to your strength. You know this. Do what you do best. But, you need to really know what that is. Strength can be as limiting as weakness if not tamed. A hard-nosed, goal-driven executive can find herself isolated by dwelling too strong on this strength. Soften the edges of your game. Don’t dominate the play, just lead with excellence. People can mistake strength for rigidity. That won’t help you or others.
Cover your weakness. Of course you have them. You’ve found them haunting you every turn of your career. Six courses of style management can’t change these core items of who you are. As a manager, I’ve always had to focus hard on listening. Why? I’m 50+% deaf since birth. So, I arrange my office for optimum face to face contact and limit noise interference. People are usually amazed when I tell them about my limitation as I’ve mastered masking through sitting in middle spots in conferences and making sure I get directly across from those I expect to be key stakeholders in any meeting. What is yours? Find a cover. Bad note taker? Make sure a good one gets that assignment in every meeting. Take double notes. Find a cover.
Build disciplines. There are some skills that just have to be at a good level whether they are a weakness or not in your specific regimen. Know what they are and find a way to strengthen them. It is not an option to be weak in an area that must be strong. Sorry, it is tough, but you need to fix it. If promptness is hard for you, you must repair. If attentiveness is hard for you, you must repair. You must.
So what the heck am I talking about, Three Hats? Each of us over time discovers from 3-5 core areas of expertise. For me it is operational excellence, communication, and people development. After working multiple companies in multiple industries, these items just keep coming back on top. Sure, I have many skills and abilities like project management and administration and meeting management and facilitating brainstorming,, and marketing, and sales, and, and, and… But what are the Three Hats that never come off no matter what I am doing? Find yours. Know them. Develop.
Hat One: This is your core passion. When you get up in the morning, what gets you started? At the end of the day, what are you thinking? What is that core? For me? People development. I love to see people grow.
Hat Two: This is your core performance. Okay, when you example “velocity”, where does it happen. Velocity is the ability to do the right thing at the right time that advances you and everyone around you and the business. For me? Operational excellence. Seeing how to adjust an operation to perform the charter is a natural for me and advances the organization.
Hat Three: This is the core producer. This is the trait that makes the other two shine. What is it that you do so well that enables core performance and passion to be energized? This is all about ‘vitality’. This puts energy into the performance and keeps you engaged long after others would give up. This secret brings it all together for you. I love encouraging with communication and clarifying with communication and setting vision with communication. Communication enables my passion and let’s others walk along with operations.
When your Three Hats are working well they become one hat. The brim, the bill, and the band form one unit for others to see and appreciate. That maturity developed and seen in you can be applied to your next career steps in the position you have or the one you are getting ready to have. Just make sure the hat fits before you engage.
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