Has Your Expertise Made You Rigid?

Has Your Expertise Made You Rigid?

You’re smart. You have some great skills and you are anxious to apply them at your new workplace. What you have trouble accepting are the outdated systems and the ineptitude of some of your coworkers. There are easier and faster ways to do things. Why can’t others recognize this? Why can’t others get up to speed or get out of the way? Don’t they realize you are an expert?

Stop for a minute to think how you and your thinking might be coming across to others. Would they describe you as a thoughtful staff member and a team player, or would they label you as too quick to modify systems, and unwilling to understand why things are done a certain way. Do they find you rigid in your approach to problem solving? Do you sound like a broken record at meetings, making the same comments and suggestions over and over? Do they feel you are dismissive and impatient, that you lack respect for them?

If this is your current situation, maybe changing your approach would make a difference. Begin by slowing down a bit. Take some time to understand the way things work and why they are structured the way they are. What fixes have been tried before. Why didn’t they work? What would be required to bring about the change you think is needed—money, time, resources, commitment?

Also, instead of being critical of your coworkers, try to identify their strengths and what makes them valuable to your organization. Is one a great negotiator, or a good grant writer? Is one outstanding in customer service, and another a whiz with numbers and budgets? What can you learn from them? Could the head of communications teach you something about making better presentations? Could the CFO give a short session on reading the balance sheet? Could your legal counsel do an inservice on your organization’s malpractice insurance? Could your governance associate help staff better understand board management? What could you offer to teach your coworkers?

Instead of being negative about someone’s lack of skills, be helpful. That baby boomer will never be as good with computers as you are. Your boss may never warm to social media. You may work differently from others in your office, but you do need to work with others. Don’t let your self importance overshadow your contributions. You may have wonderful expertise, but that doesn’t always make you an expert employee.

Share This

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *