I am a tireless proponent of getting in the way.
As kids, getting in the way led to admonishment from parents or older siblings. As adults, getting in the way creates our universe of opportunities.
In our careers, getting in the way shows up in many places.
- Bringing up a point in this week’s leadership team meeting that gets in the way of making the wrong decision for the company.
- Shifting the mindset of a boss who’s in public shaming mode by stepping in to support a colleague.
- Flying cross-country for an interview to impress a hiring manager gets in the way of them making the mistake of not choosing you.
- During the pitch of a lifetime to a buyer trying to solve a chronic problem, we show up as a trusted advisor with a solution.
- Stuck as the last speaker before lunch and in the path of plummeting blood sugar levels, we choose to be memorable and leave them talking.
- During an emotional argument, we get in the way by speaking in a calm and quiet tone to relieve the tension.
- Asking for help by admitting we don’t have all the answers gets in the way of our need to be right and increases our connection with others.
The corollary to getting in the way is showing up.
- When we show up with curiosity, we learn and grow.
- When we show up with a desire to serve, we contribute.
- When we show up, we position ourselves to add value.
- When we show up, we display our courage.
- When we show up with questions, we find more effective solutions.
- When we show up, we can get in the way.
Takeaway: All leaders spend their careers solving problems. By putting yourself in their line of sight, you substantially increase the odds of being selected to help. Get out of your head and office and get in the way. This is the path to a rewarding career and life.