Holding back? Don't!

I was talking to a colleague yesterday on the subject of helping people and sharing. I explained that in the past few weeks I have been able to help people and get help numerous times through using the fabulous DPG Community. She said, or rather demonstrated something funny, which I liked ‘Why some people behave like this (puts head down and arms around paperwork in a Kevin the teenager manner) I will never know, if I know the answer I will always help".

I totally agree with this way of thinking and I think it’s great that I sit next to someone who has both common sense, company smarts and the ability to make me laugh. In my experience there are a few things which stop people from sharing and participating in person but more so on social media sites and networks . I think of them as troublesome little gloopy monsters which get inside our heads and stop us, sometimes before we've even started – the ‘What ifs’

 “What if....”

I sound silly – We all worry about losing face at times. Please remember you are a smart, talented professional and also remember that you are a human being. You have loads of worthwhile, humorous, cautionary, interesting experiences to share as well as lots to learn. We all get stuck sometimes, need information or guidance. It’s totally OK to ask for help or insight from peers and this doesn't mean that you can’t do your job/are inefficient/naive. What it does mean is that you are committed to doing your job in the most effective way as you are seeking a wide range of opinions in order to choose the best option, rather than the same option. Social helps us to build relationships and to do that effectively we need to make ourselves a bit vulnerable. After all, nobody knows everything. To avoid being too needy I try to observe a 2:1 ratio; for every one thing I ask, I try to share or input my opinion on two more things.

I’m giving away knowledge that makes me valuable – If you think that sharing information means you are going to lose your job, or be less marketable as an employee, well you could be right. However, lack of willingness to share, collaborate and communicate in a group is more likely to be the presiding factor in this rather than giving up knowledge. Employers frequently cite silo working as an issue in their organisations; there is a growing trend now for this to be considered when recruiting/promoting. Organisations are increasingly moving from valuing of ‘you are what you know’ to ‘you are what you share’ as performance boosting behaviours take more of a centre stage in considerations when recruiting and rewarding people.

It’s already been said – If you are directly lifting information from a source, of course you need to reference it. There is a lot of stuff on the internet, but there is also a lot of stuff not on there. You could be asking the question that 10 other people wanted to, but dare not. Start from a point of writing for your own development - that way it does not matter if you are saying it again. Provide your take on the matter; label it as a personal view and how you came to this conclusion.

Someone disagrees with my opinion or challenges me negatively -

Firstly, never feed a troll – a troll is someone who goes out onto the Internet with the sole purpose of winding us up! To recognise when a comment requires a response you need to decide if it’s important, relevant and that you understand what the person is saying. I prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt and check my understanding first. Always remember that if something is truly a low blow, it normally reflects badly on the commenter rather than you.

I have worked hard to banish my own ‘What Ifs’. Social tools are increasingly becoming a part of organisational life and we in HR need to use all of our CIPD professional behaviours to participate, particularly curiosity, courage and most importantly acting as a role model. Why not start on the DPG Community?

I’d love to know:

Do you have any What Ifs?

How are you overcoming them?

Is anything stopping you from overcoming them?

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  • Thanks for the comment Mike! Totally agree, it's normal to have a few doubts and it's great when we don't let them hold us back! Love your classification of SoMe, NotMe and GuideMe too; I think they map quite closely to the engagement model that uses Captive, Steady, Apostle, Dissenter, Mercenary behaviours too (particularly Apostle, Steady and Dissenter). I don't like to think about the NotMe's as a personality trait, though it may well be. The reason is, I find this can be a blocker or used as an excuse (I can't do that vs I can't) to not participate or even try; when we talk about it as a learnable and scaleable behaviour it becomes much more accessible. 

  • Great post Hayley and one that really strikes a chord with me having banished a number of 'gloopy monsters' in my time. It's great to hear that you are benefited from being part of this community and you are adding some great content and getting involved in lots of things which goes to show it is very much a two way street.

    My very own 'gloopy monsters' were mainly around self-confidence and not wanting to sound silly, I doubted my own knowledge / experience and still sometimes do when I share and participate in discussions and definitely do when I write blogs. I started blogging in Sept 2011 and still remember pressing that publish button feeling sick with nerves lol. Everyone one has something to add though, everyone has unique experiences and opinions to share and everyone can add value in some capacity. Thinking and reflecting is critical in the learning process after all so I blog for me and if others read it, benefit from it, add their own thoughts or develop the theme or concept the this is an added bonus!

    I still doubt myself now and I think it's only natural to do so but the difference now is I recognise that everything I do is about sharing and learning. Knowledge is no longer power but knowledge sharing is the true power and getting access to and contributing to new ideas and different thinking and connecting with people both face to face and online is what helps us improve, develop and innovate.

    In using social tools like this community, I think the technology plays a part in online communication and for those that consider themselves technophobes or those who just don't 'do technology' this can be barrier both in confidence and capability. Julie Wedgwood describes 3 different types of people when introducing and encouraging the use of online networks and social tools in a professional context:

    • So Me's - those that are active users of social tools and naturally pick up using these tools to share and collaborate.
    • Guide Me's - those that don't use social tools (other than FB) but can see the value and are willing and open to learn but may need some support and guidance.
    • Not Me's - those that don't use social tools in any capacity and don't see the value they can provide when used for sharing or working smarter. They aren't open to using the tools as they are seen as unproductive and a 'waste of time'.

    I wonder if these people reflect these characteristics in face to face situations and indeed the workplace. Is it a characteristic or personality trait - are people more naturally more collaborative than others?

    I think it can be a learned behaviour and importantly people need to be able to see this behaviour which is why role modelling the right behaviours are so important. L&D and HR have a huge part to play here in being leaders around workplace collaboration and being more open and transparent in all that we do.

    To end I think a good way to think about this is coming back to the What Ifs

    What if you don't.......

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