Style My Soul Explores …
What is one professional mistake you made early in your career path which shaped how you manage your professional relationships and work responsibilities?
Focused On Results Over Helping Employees Grow
When I first became a manager, I had no training or great examples to emulate. Inexperience led to me focusing on results rather than empowering, collaborating, and delegating.I quickly learned that employees are assets with individual needs, goals, and professional growth desires. Helping each employee grow professionally is an obligation of a leader, even if that means they outgrow their position. -- Kimberly Bogues, Founder/CEO, Flourish Business Services, LLC
Stayed Trapped in My Department’s Bubble
When I first started in my career, I rarely ventured outside my department, and this mistake delayed my networking efforts and limited my understanding of how a business operates. It is easy to get stuck in our department bubbles, where we rarely get a glimpse of what others are doing to make the entire machine move forward. However, when I developed relationships with people outside my departments, built my network in all aspects of my industry, and even reached out to individuals in markets outside my profession, I realized my error and could later gain a better understanding of how businesses work. By staying in my bubble and then later moving out of it, I soon realized that my error had delayed my understanding of managing a business, and led to my efforts to gain a universal perspective that improved my ability to lead others. -- Cody Candee, Founder/CEO, Bounce
Missed Feedback for Important Projects
I remember early in my career; I made a mistake that changed the way I relate to my professional relationships and manage my responsibilities at work. I was working on a team project, and they assigned me to create a presentation. I stayed up all night working on it, and I was really proud of the result. When I arrived at the meeting the next day, my team members were less than impressed. They pointed out all the flaws in my presentation and completely tore it apart. I was humiliated and felt like a complete idiot. From then on, I made sure to always get feedback from my team before presenting anything. That experience taught me the importance of communication and checking in with others before taking any kind of action. I’m grateful for that early mistake because it showed me the importance of communication and teamwork. If you can learn from your mistakes, then they’re not really mistakes at all — they’re just opportunities for growth. -- Travis Lindemoen, Managing Director, nexus IT group
Intimidated by New Ideas
When an idea sounds like it could work, don’t be intimidated by the thought that you haven’t tried it before. We come across new ideas all the time and every so often, they change the landscape. Imagine what the business ecosystem would look like today if certain digital tools were never invented. I’m a part of a brand that has the potential to change the face of banking. At the very least, it has the potential to draw millions of people into our space because of the opportunities we offer. Had I learned of this job years earlier, I may not have applied for it because I was still so stuck on working for companies with proven business models. I’m glad I wised up. Don’t be afraid of taking chances on new ideas. -- Trevor Ford, Head of Growth, Yotta
Underestimated the Power of Networking
Early in my career, I did not realize how vital it was to forge connections in the workplace and keep them warm. According to HubSpot, 85% of jobs are filled through networking, and according to CNBC, 70% of jobs aren’t even posted online. After you meet new contacts, you ought to keep in touch with, connect with them through email or a professional networking platform like Linkedin. For example, in an email, include how you two met and share something of value, whether a helpful article, an introduction, an invitation to an event, or a follow-up for coffee. Networking and its benefits are two-way streets.
-- Bernice Chao, Author, The Visibility Mindset
Avoided Communicating Issues With My Team
When I think back over my 19+ years as an HR professional, I often reflect on past mistakes and failures. Those failures and mistakes have contributed positively to the leader I am today. Mistakes have forced me to find creative ways to correct them. A long time ago, I was at an offsite event and an executive asked me, “how is morale?” I answered the question honestly. I shared that morale was extremely low and the reasons behind it. The next day my manager called me into her office and asked me why I hadn’t I shared with her that morale was extremely low. She explained her extreme surprise, which wasn’t my intent. I made a commitment from that day forward that I never wanted my manager to be surprised. To this day, I over communicate and ensure that my leader never has to experience this. -- Tawanda Johnson, HR Leader, Sporting Smiles
Never Set Proper Boundaries
Setting boundaries can be tough. It’s hard to tell people no. However, learning how to set boundaries and enforce them is essential for managing relationships and responsibilities. Learning to manage your time can be difficult, as most of us are reluctant to refuse requests from others. We want to accept every invitation and task thrown our direction. However, we are no good to anyone when we are exhausted and stressed out. -- Kirin Sinha, CEO, Illumix
Did Not Build Supportive Delegation Habits
In the early days of my career, I was determined to do everything myself. For a combination of reasons, including wanting total control and trying to be frugal, I did not delegate my tasks. This was detrimental to my work. For example, I did not take into consideration that by hiring out and delegating some tasks, I would not only be saving an immense amount of time, but I would also allow people who are extremely good at that specific task to take over. Therefore, if I had not tried to do it all myself, I would have gotten more done, and it would have likely been better than I could have done it myself. -- Lionel Mora, CEO, Neoplants
Became Consumed by Early Career Positions
It is important when choosing your early positions that you gain skills, and then build an understanding of where those skills are best applied. Do not be consumed with positions early in your career. Keep your expenses low so you can choose to leave if not a good fit. Once you know what gets you excited and have the skills to pursue the best situation, then choose the best industry that will allow you to use your skills, get paid a premium, and still have a quality of life with reasonable work hours.
-- Mario Altiery, President, Upside Group Franchise Consulting