Career Coach: Look Inside Yourself before Rallying the Troops

Article excerpt

Q: I recently accepted a management position working in marketing for a university. My problem is that I have always had difficulty establishing credibility and winning the respect of faculty when I am serving on faculty committees. I do very well presenting ideas one-on-one, but when I'm in a group where everybody considers himself to be a marketing expert and when there is competition and defensiveness, I'm not able to rally everyone to consensus.

All of a sudden, I shrink down to nothing and completely lose confidence to speak up. I know that creating a subcommittee would be an effective approach, so that decisions aren't riding solely on me, but I also have some difficulty assigning work to faculty unless they are genuinely collaborative. I do not have faculty status, by the way. I am a staff member. What tools or methods can you recommend to make it easier for me to get consensus?

A: Just as the professors are experts in their fields, you are the expert in yours. If people are making you feel inferior, it's a sign that you need to do some "inner work," so that you don't feel less significant than anyone else. So, taking actions such as creating a subcommittee to make decisions or relying on some other pretext only masks the underlying problem, and that is within you.

I'd recommend you attend seminars and read books by self-help experts like Tony Robbins and James Arthur Ray. I, and many thousands of others, have attended these kinds of seminars over the years and have found them immensely helpful. You might want to hire a coach to help you practice more appropriate behaviors, using hypothetical but realistic scenarios.

I know you are looking for a quick tip or trick that will make you instantly credible, but until you make the "inner" changes nothing substantive will change on the outside. …