Today’s EMS Dashboard Confessional is an introspective story about reflecting on your personal failures and how to self-improve:
“I was a middle manager at an EMS agency passed over for promotion. I had been in my role for about four years, and I was looking for a bump up in the same division. I was very confident in my role, people liked me, and I thought I was effective at my job. Of course, when the time came, not only didn’t I get the job, but a close friend got it instead.
I was incredibly angry, resentful, and shocked at not getting the promotion. My self-esteem tanked, and I wallowed in self-pity for a month. Then I took stock of myself. I realized that I could take one of two paths: either I could run away from the issue, or I could look at why they picked my friend over me. I decided to really analyze why they didn’t choose me for the job.
When I thought about it, I easily identified a few areas of my work performance that I could focus on. In the past, I was hesitant to put my ideas forward, so I decided to be bolder in advocating my ideas and for myself. I got better at making sure that people saw my ideas, and better at taking ownership of them. A major part of this growth was asking for feedback from peers on projects, and taking the criticism constructively instead of personally.”
I commend this leader for having the self-awareness to look at their failure at promotion and look for ways to get better. A huge part of this is the “Personal Board of Directors” that Ray Barishanksy suggests is an absolute essential to professional growth and navigation. This leader clearly took the harder path, but much of their growth was guided by the feedback from peers. It’s difficult to be this introspective, and turn away from the ‘dark side’ when your career path doesn’t go the way you envision. Having a small, trusted group of people to guide you, inside your organization, outside your organization, and outside your industry is essential to getting through these tough times.
I also think that we rely too much on email in today’s work environment. One peer of mine, an experienced attorney who was senior to me, was petrified of going down the hall to the boss’ office for fear of being ripped apart. Honestly, that fear was justified, as the partner we worked for was well-known for being very critical of our work, and he didn’t sugar coat things. Rather than walk down the hall, my colleague sent an email. In the end, my peer’s reluctance to go down the hall, and that lack of visibility, ended up being his demise. The partner saw him as ineffective, and didn’t see sufficient professional growth, so he was replaced with a new attorney. Walk down the hall and talk to someone face to face. Read their non-verbal cues and learn from them. If you can’t walk down the hall, pick up the phone and talk to them. Email is convenient, but it’s best for asynchronous communications, or for when you’re trying to make a record.