Anita, my new supervisor, asked me to write a list of goals to discuss at one of our first meetings. I came in with the list, and she rejected it! I had written about how I would “support” this program, and “provide resources for” that team. She told me that I had been hired for a leadership position and I needed to start describing my role that way.
It was a very useful exercise, that I still think about 5 years later, to re-write that list describing my role as “managing” the program and “leading” the team. When we talked about it yesterday, Anita didn’t remember the conversation. But it was very helpful to me in growing into my new role.
Words matter. Over the next few weeks, think about how you describe your work to others. Equally important, listen to how your people describe their roles. It’s one way to be sure people feel ownership over their work and are clear about their roles.
Dee Anne Bonebright