Arguments – an exchange of words that’s given a negative connotation because the result doesn’t always leave a good taste. A sort of conversation that I try my best to avoid and yet have had to get into one every now and then. It is quite nerve wracking to start a conversation at work knowing that it will lead to an argument. It is even more awfully scary when you know you will be against a lot of seasoned senior professionals. But sometimes, it is important that young professionals share their fresh ideas to bring a change, a tiny twist in the way of things at work.
When I first raised my hand to disagree with my entire team over an existing system – a practice that deemed successful for decades.. I was scared-to-death.
My train of thoughts consisted of a 100 what-if questions:
“What if am wrong?”
“What if they all disagree?”
“What if I come out as an ignorant incompetent woman at work?”
“What if they think am arrogant?”
“What if am correct and become an outcast?”
“What if they all end up disliking me?”
“What if they agree and then I flop miserably during execution?”
“What if my disagreement turn out to be disrespectful to all the seniors?”
“What if my point is totally off-topic?”
The list is an endless infinite loop.
All these are common questions that pop in our head every time we deny to conform to the common expected behavior/outcome. This is when we leave our comfort zone and take a minor risk although they may seem like a life or death situation to our inexperienced humble little brain.
It is very easy to nod our head, say yes to everything and everyone. It is easy to live a life of no-conflict. It is comfortable but definitely not satisfying.
Here’s what I learnt as I took those risks and left my comfort zone to question existing practices, legacy systems and unnecessarily time consuming processes:
- Most of the questions that popped in my head turned out to be true every once in a while. Some times I failed miserably, sometimes I became an outcast because I was right, sometimes I was disliked by everyone because I looked arrogant/disrespectful.
- With time, I learnt the art of negotiation. I learnt to question without offending anyone although it does rarely happen and I can’t help it.
- Slowly, I was taken seriously by my team. Most people respected me for taking the risk and having the guts to state my points accurately.
- There will always be someone who says NO to everything I suggest purely because they just don’t want to agree with me.
- DATA & STATS – they are everything. It is always important to back a statement with facts and numbers as they can never be wrong.
- Unless questioned, nobody will know that there is a different approach.
- Most importantly : Comfort doesn’t always mean Satisfaction.
I know it is scary. I know it is tough but it is all worth it. Take small risks everyday. To argue your point you first need to know to ask the right questions in the right way. You will learn to ask right questions only if you try to raise your hand in the first place. Even if you fail miserably once, remember you are in this job because you earned it – which means you are capable of understanding and questioning the system. Next time, you will know a better approach to your team, a better choice of words and timing.
Few years down the lane, you will also be sitting in the same panel and a newbie would question your system with a better approach. What you do now and the skills you pick up as you grow will determine the path you pave for the future young professionals.
Be Bold. Be Courageous. Be Smart.
~Yuvathi ❤ 🙂