Featured image by 66176388@N00 on Flickr
In a meeting with my team at work, I was becoming more frustrated by the minute. I’ve used my strengths as a programmer, web developer, help desk manager, database architect, and a business analyst. I’m also an ENFP, honed in on the needs and motivations of people and keenly interested in building relationships – whether in my personal life or with a customer. However, in this group of brilliant engineers (almost all of them ISTJ‘s, honed in on the need for planning and organizing and keenly interested in how things work – not people) my ideas were falling on deaf ears. Actually, I can’t even say they were deaf ears. They were definitely hearing me, they were just dismissing everything I said.
Stung by what I took as criticism and angry that I wasn’t being heard, I stopped voicing my ideas and waited the meeting out. My strengths were useless in this situation. Suddenly, a saying I had read before popped into my head and helped me take a new perspective:
In a land of the blind, the one eyed man is king.
In my previous roles my analytical and technical abilities were valued because I was working with a team of like-minded people eager to build customer relationships and not all of them had technical experience. Here, my team was technically proficient and analytically talented and my strengths were nothing special. In fact, my focus on people and building relationships was actually a detriment because everyone was focused on solving the problem with a technical solution.
In this world, I was average. I realized that if I seek out situations where we are trying to solve problems that I am well suited for and where my strengths are different than those of my team, I am more likely to be heard and appreciated.
Where do you shine? Are your strengths different than your team? Do you work on the kind of problems you are best at solving? How can you make yourself a one-eyed king? Share your story in the comments!