Have you ever been the new kid on the block? The new person on the job? A first-time guest at a senior leadership meeting?
What did you do?
Most people fall into one of two camps: the Waiters and the Leapers.
If you sit quietly and are nervous about speaking up because you’re new, and don’t feel you have a right to speak, you are a Waiter. After all, you just got there. You may have great ideas, but you’d feel foolish if you said something that wasn’t brilliant. You may even have grown up with the adage: Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt. But just because your grandfather said it, doesn’t make it true for you now!
The Waiter reminds me of learning to play jump rope at school. While the girls at either end swung the long rope, I had to “run in” and start jumping. I remember wishing the rope would stop moving for minute so I could just walk in and then have the rope begin. So it is with entering a new job or a new community. But nothing seems to stop and wait just because you are new.
If you are a Waiterand don’t’ speak up, you may run into the problem thatothers decide you don’t want to participate or think you are superior and standoffish.
Waitersget attention for what they don’tsay.
Leapersaren’t going to take any chance of being overlooked. I’ve been in the Leapercamp. My mother used to say, She who tooteth not her own horn, same shall not be tooted. In other words, others might be too busy with their own agendas to recognize or promote your genius.
So you leap in, introduce yourself, tell everyone your credentials and experience so they’ll be impressed. But are they? Usually not. Instead, Leapers can come across as disrespectful or disinterested in what others have to offer. When really you’re just saying: Hey like me, play with me!
Whether you are a Waiteror aLeaper,here’s the really simple trick I’ve learned when you’re the new kid on the block:
Waiters don’t ask because they’re “not entitled”, anyone who’s really been there should know the answers.
Leapers don’t ask because this may undermine the authority they’re trying to establish.
Actually, the well-phrased question is an invitation, a way of saying, I’m here, I want to be a part of this and knowing more will let me contribute more.
For Leapers,the well-phrased question is NOT masqueraded advice. i.e.: Have you ever thought of revising the marketing plan?
Well-phrased questions never put others on the defensive. They include phrases like:
Can you tell me more about…
Can you help me understand howthat would work…
What would be the impact of…
Can you describe….
When do we anticipate…
What would that look like…
Notice there are no WHY’s. Why questions can make people feel defensive. You can get much of the same information in a gentler way.
When you ask questions, you get the kind of attention you crave and a leg up on what is going on in this new culture.
Tell me about when you’ve been the newbie? What did you do that worked? Are you a newbie now, looking for the right questions to ask? Let us help!!!
Don’t forget about the two day Discover Your Yippee Retreat, coming up in November.
Until next Tuesday. YIPPEE!