Your reservoir runs deeper than you think.
There was a period of time where my teammates didn’t feel safe to speak up. One of the hang-ups that I heard from someone looking at a problem which needed action was that the solution was something a leader should be doing.
My teammate wasn’t wrong.
In a conversation with my boss, I mentioned that while we were discussing taking initiative and the team feeling safe to speak up. Shortly afterward, she forwarded me a Marcus Blankenship newsletter about, “What if I’m not the boss?” The recommendation was (crude paraphrase here) that because you have eyes to see and a mind to think you also have a voice to speak. That boss has done a lot to foster an environment which encourages people to speak up, speak out, take initiative, and take ownership.
That said, our leadership structure shifted and I no longer report to her.
Shortly after the announcement was made that we’d be reporting to someone else, I sat down at her desk and said, “I know I’m not going to be reporting to you anymore, but I want to work on personal development, and I need to have some conversations that are a lot easier if I’m not also getting to know someone. Could I still meet with you a couple of times?”
She said yes, and we had a one-on-one. As the meeting was drawing to a close, she started asking me something, and then paused for a moment like she felt the question was awkward, and then asked if I wanted to be her mentee.
It hadn’t seemed like an odd question at all to me. We’ve had a lot of growth and development conversations, and she’s shared a lot of useful resources with me. She also knew, from a much earlier conversation, that I was looking for more mentorship (at that point, I hadn’t asked her, I was just mentioning it in passing.)
I accepted. To me, it was a no brainer because I can learn a lot from her and when it comes to having difficult conversations, she’s already earned my trust.
These two conversations, among other things, made it clear that a lot of people underestimate what they have to offer. We all have shortcomings, weaknesses, and gaps in our knowledge. But most people have more to offer than they admit to themselves.
Speak up. Speak out. Help those around you.
You have what it takes.