Participate and Share

Participation, I think, or one of the best methods of educating.
Tom Glazer

In preschool and kindergarten, we spend a lot of time teaching how to share. Depending on a kids family size this can be easier for some. My older brother is five years older. By the time I came along he thought he was in charge. He didn’t want to share. My younger brother is a little over a year younger. So I don’t remember not sharing. These simple lessons can show up often in our work as well. I saw someone once who wore a shirt that said, “Doesn’t play well with others.” Unfortunately, we encounter many professionals that should carry this warning.

Participation

Technology work requires people to work together. Participation is more the rule than the exception. I was recently troubleshooting an issue with someone. We were confused and needed some additional help. With that additional expertise, we were able to come to a solution. Look for opportunities to participate in group discussions. Chances are if someone invited you they want your opinion.

Sharing

My son used to play hockey. During practice, I would often talk to a gentleman who owned a detailing business. He spoke how busy he was and couldn’t keep up with all the work. I asked him why he didn’t hire someone to work with him. “I don’t want to share all my secrets.” He told me how they could leave and start their own shop. That type of thinking is quite dangerous in technology. You bring value to the organization when you train new people. Sharing your expertise helps you as well. Too many people have a small mindset. They look at everything as a zero-sum game. Another important part of technology is that it changes so fast. Nobody knows everything. You will find a time when you need others to share with you too.

Introverts

Working in technology for almost twenty years I have encountered a few introverts. Getting them to share can be quite difficult. In Quiet, by Susan Cain she tells us how to work with introverts. One important way is to give them space and time to think. Acknowledge them in your groups and allow them to write an answer or to share by other means. Try to organize your workplace so they have quiet spaces to concentrate.

Extroverts

You never have to ask an extrovert for their opinion. They will just blurt it out. They tend to dominate the conversation. With them, you need to help them understand to allow others to share. Start with subtle cues and then you can move to more direct responses. Try to understand if you are more often introverted or extroverted. Also, try to understand the situations where you may become more so.

Effort

We need to give an honest effort find ways to participate. Understand your strengths and try to help with your skills. My wife shared a great question that can help you help others out. She suggested a co-worker start a meeting, “how can I help you out?” That is a great way to show you can help.

Come out

People connect when you are genuine. Make sure to be vulnerable and come out of your shell. I have worked with a few people who seem pretty stiff. It can be hard to relate to people who have a facade all the time. As a coach, I am honest with people that I am not perfect. Many times I learn from them.

Your Story

Make sure you share with people your story. Let them know where you come from. This can help you connect with people and their story too. Don’t try to be someone your not. Part of your story should be your wins and losses. People won’t believe you if you talk about only your successes.

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