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职场改进:如何摆脱羞怯形象

更新时间:2014-1-28 14:56:20 来源:华尔街日报中文网 作者:佚名

Career Makeover: Shaking Off A Shy Image
职场改进:如何摆脱羞怯形象

It's easy for someone who's not a big talker in meetings to be pigeonholed at work as lacking ambition or drive. Conference calls can fly right by and he's still reflecting on what to say.

Thomas G. Lynch, a self-described introvert, shook off his old image among managers as quiet and took on new leadership roles at work -- without becoming a backslapping extrovert. Here's how he did it.

The Problem

Mr. Lynch was a sales-support executive with a good track record who was passed over for leadership roles because of his quiet personality.

He was promoted several times at SAP America in Newtown Square, Pa., most recently to senior principal in 2011. He enjoys solving customers' problems and working one-on-one or in small groups with his clients, including top officials at government agencies. After 10 years at the maker of business-applications software, the 44-year-old engineer, who also has an M.B.A., wanted to move up into management.

When he started exploring the idea in 2012, however, he heard from bosses that he lacked drive and ambition. 'The feedback I got was, 'Tom, you're a smart guy. You're well-respected. But you need more edge,' ' he says. He assumed that meant he had to become an extrovert, or more assertive and dominant.

Mr. Lynch has scored major successes with clients, helping drive at least $20 million to $30 million in sales each year, often earning above-average or 'top performer' ratings. 'You'd never think I'm an introvert if you saw me in front of a customer, because I'm asking questions and trying to solve problems,' he says. Introverts tend to thrive when able to think deeply about solutions.

He was often overshadowed at the office by outspoken colleagues, however. 'I'm not the type of person who has to say something at every single meeting,' he says.

The Solution

Mr. Lynch focused on making his strengths clearer to others.

He asked Julie Cohen, a Philadelphia career and leadership coach and his former colleague at a previous employer, Ernst & Young, to help him become more extroverted. They agreed on six months of coaching sessions every other week.

Ms. Cohen had Mr. Lynch ask 20 colleagues and friends for three adjectives that described him. He was pleased that not everyone saw him as 'this quiet person,' he says. Colleagues described him as innovative, thorough, empathic, trustworthy and 'highly influential.' He also attended an SAP employee-training program on developing a 'personal brand,' or positive image.

Mr. Lynch made a list of his strengths: his focus on the customer, technical skill and being a team player. He enjoys making presentations when he can prepare in advance. Ms. Cohen also had him list his values, to understand what motivates him. To his surprise, it wasn't status or money, Mr. Lynch says. 'For me, it's about helping people. Once I reassessed what was important to me, I came to realize that I am more successful than I thought.'

He and Ms. Cohen concluded, based on the exercises, that becoming an extrovert 'was the wrong goal,' Ms. Cohen says. Some of Mr. Lynch's best qualities were tied to his reflective style.

They refocused on helping Mr. Lynch present himself differently, as an innovator and an expert on public-sector clients. 'I realized I needed to stop flying under the radar and take more risks,' Mr. Lynch says.

Ms. Cohen urged him to speak up more often in meetings. 'Sometimes you need to react in the moment, with something that is not 100% fleshed out' to be seen as a full participant, Ms. Cohen told him. She also suggested he talk more with managers about specific contributions he wanted to make.

The Implementation

At Ms. Cohen's urging, Mr. Lynch called a boss, Michael Nixon, who he knew saw him as lacking in ambition. He described what he saw as his strengths, and asked Mr. Nixon how he could gain more responsibility.

'I was a little surprised' by the call, says Mr. Nixon, who is vice president, financial services, for SAP America. He told Mr. Lynch, 'This can't be an easy call for you to make.' Mr. Lynch had a reputation as a 'solid, very professional, very disciplined' employee, but Mr. Nixon says he hadn't seen him show the entrepreneurial skills that help managers advance at SAP.

Mr. Nixon says he urged Mr. Lynch to promote himself and his skills, rather than assuming 'people would see his ability and tap him on the shoulder.' Self-promotion, he added, 'isn't a selfish thing.'

Mr. Lynch also called a manager who was organizing an annual sales meeting last January, and asked to participate. When she said, 'I've got it handled,' he pressed the point. 'Even if there's a small part, I'd love to do it.' She agreed to let him plan a 30-minute presentation to 100 colleagues in Las Vegas, which broadened his network.

The same manager remembered him a few months later when she became his boss.

He has started building relationships two or more levels up. He recently asked a senior executive for leadership opportunities and won an assignment to a new team studying ways to improve his unit's performance. He also has signed up for professional-development services SAP offers employees, including more coaching and an online tool for help finding an internal mentor.

The Outcome

On a recent team project, the change in Mr. Lynch's confidence and leadership was so marked that 'I barely recognized him,' Mr. Nixon says. 'I would label him a difference-maker.' The project brought in three times the expected revenue, or several million dollars, Mr. Nixon says.

Mr. Lynch was delighted recently when his manager asked him to lead a 90-minute breakout session for about 100 colleagues at this year's annual sales meeting next week in Las Vegas.

Being an introvert, Mr. Lynch has decided, can be a plus. While he would welcome a promotion or a new title, he is focusing less on that now, and more on the intrinsic rewards of his work.

The changes have rippled through family life with his wife, Robin, his daughters Tyler, 13, and Ryan, 10, and his 5-year-old son, Tommy. Mr. Lynch used to keep to himself at activities with his kids. At a cookout last fall for Ryan's soccer team, he realized that having a father who knows other parents and coaches might help his daughter have more fun and success on the team.

Knowing he was extending himself for his daughter, he said, 'I had a purpose. And the more I have a purpose, the easier it is.'

在职场中,不善于在会议中高谈阔论的人很容易被归为缺乏进取心或动力的一类人。电话会议很快就会结束,而他却还在思考要说些什么。

托马斯·G·林奇(Thomas G. Lynch)自称是一个内向之人,后来他摆脱了自己在管理层心目中沉默寡言的旧形象,在工作中承担起领导角色——而且并没有变为热情开朗的外向者。下文就介绍了他是如何做到的。

症结所在

林奇过去是一名销售支持专员,他的工作业绩一贯不错,却因为安静的性格丧失了升职机会。

他在宾夕法尼亚州新城广场(Newtown Square)的SAP America公司获得了数次晋升,最近一次是在2011年被提拔为高级负责人。他乐于解决顾客的问题,喜欢以一对一或小组的方式与客户(包括政府机构的高级官员等)合作。在这家商业应用软件生产商工作了10年后,这名44岁的工程师(他还拥有MBA学位)希望升入管理层。

他从2012年开始尝试实施这个想法,然而他从老板那儿听到的是他缺乏动力和进取心。他说:“我当时得到的反馈是,‘汤姆,你是一个聪明人。你备受尊重,但是你还需要更多优势。”他以为这表示他必须成为一个外向之人,或者变得更坚定自信和突出。

林奇在客户工作方面取得过很大成绩,每年至少帮公司拉动2,000万至3,000万美元的销售额,常常获得高于平均水平或“优秀员工”的考评。他说:“如果你看到我在客户面前的表现,你绝对不会觉得我是内向的人,因为我不断提出问题,努力解决问题。”内向者往往在能深入思考解决办法时表现出色。
然而,他常常在办公室被大胆敢说的同事盖过风头。他说:“我不是那种必须要在每次会议上发言的人。”

解决方法

林奇把精力放在了使别人更了解他的优势上。

于是,他请来费城的职业发展与领导力指导朱莉·科恩(Julie Cohen),以及他在前任雇主安永(Ernst & Young)的前同事帮助他变得外向一些。他们一致同意每隔一周进行一次培训,总共培训六个月时间。

科恩让林奇请20名同事与朋友用三个形容词来描述他。林奇说,让他高兴的是,并非每个人都把他看作“那个不爱说话的人”。同事们评论他有创新力、一丝不 、有同理心、值得信赖和“极有影响力”。他还参加了SAP一个有关建立“个人品牌”,或者说积极形象的员工培训项目。

林奇还列出了自己的优势:关注客户、专注技能和善于团队合作。他喜欢在能提前做准备的情况下做展示。科恩还让他列出他的价值观以了解他的动机是什么。林奇说,让他惊讶的是,他的动机并非是地位和金钱,“对我来说,那就是帮助别人。重新评估了自己觉得重要的东西之后,我开始意识到我比自己所认为的更成功。”

科恩说,她和林奇根据那些训练得出结论,变成外向者“是错误的目标。”林奇有些最大的优点是与他内省的风格联系在一起的。

他们转而专注于帮助林奇以不同的方式展示自己,将自己塑造为创新者和公共领域客户专家。林奇说:“我意识到我需要放开自我去承担更大的风险。”

科恩还鼓励他多在会议上大胆发言。她对林奇说,若要让人觉得你充分参与其中,“有时候你得在当时做出反应,表达还不是100%具体详实的东西。”她还建议林奇多与经理谈谈他想做出的具体贡献。

执行过程

在科恩的鼓励之下,林奇给一位上司——迈克尔·尼克松(Michael Nixon)打了电话,他知道对方认为他缺乏抱负。他向尼克松描述了他认为自己所具备的优点,并询问他如何能担起更多职责。

尼克松是SAP America负责金融行业业务的副总裁,他说那个电话“让我有点儿惊讶”。他对林奇说道:“打这个电话对你来说肯定不容易”。林奇被誉为一名“为人可靠、非常专业和非常自律”的员工,但尼克松认为,他并没有看到林奇表现出了可帮助SAP的管理者前进的开拓性技能。

尼克松说,他鼓励林奇去推销自己及其技能,而不要假设“别人会看到他的能力并赞赏地拍拍他的肩膀。”他还说道,自我推销“并非自私之事。”

去年1月份,林奇还给一名正在组织一场年度销售会议的经理打了电话,并在电话中要求参与会议工作。当那名经理表示“我都已经办妥”时,林奇坚持提出请求:“就算只有些小事情,我也非常乐意做。”最终她同意让林奇准备要在拉斯维加斯介绍给100名同事的30分钟的展示,这件事也扩大了他的人际网。

几个月后,这名经理成为了林奇的上司,并且仍然记得他。

他开始在两级或更高级别以上建立关系。前不久他向一名高管要求获得领导机会,被委派领导一个研究提高其部门业绩方法的新团队。他还报名参加了SAP为员工提供的职业发展服务,它包括更多指导和一个帮助员工找到内部导师的在线工具。

最终成效

在近期的一个团队项目中,林奇在自信心和领导力方面发生了非常显著的变化,尼克松说“我几乎都认不出他了,我会把他称为‘变革推动者’”。尼克松说,该项目带来了三倍于预期的营收,合计数百万美元。

林奇确定,性格内向也可以是一个加分项。如果获得晋升或新头衔他会很高兴,不过现在他对这方面的关注更少了,转而把注意力更多地放在工作给他带来的内在奖励上。

这些变化也连带对他的家庭生活产生了影响,包括他的妻子罗宾(Robin)、13岁的大女儿泰勒(Tyler)、10岁的小女儿瑞安(Ryan)以及五岁的儿子汤米(Tommy)。林奇过去常喜欢独自和孩子们一起活动。去年秋天,在瑞安所在的足球队的野炊活动上,他意识到成为一名认识其他家长及教练的父亲或许有助于女儿在球队中过的更开心、取得更大成绩。

认识到自己是为女儿竭尽全力后,他说:“我有目标。你越有目标,事情就越容易。”

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