If you think you have a bad reputation on your team, it’s time to change how people think of you.
Teams are hard. If you’ve found yourself off on the wrong foot, you need to fix it or risk becoming an outcast on your team. Everyone knows the one person who can’t play well in the sandbox.
Obviously, the really specific list of things to do depends on how you are viewed. If you’re the bully on the team, it will take something different than if you’re seen as a wimp. But these three tips work for everyone.
1. Start adding value by asking good questions.
If you haven’t been adding much value, asking questions is a good way to warm up. If you are the “know it all,” then you’ll start changing perceptions the minute you leave room for someone other than you to have the answer. In your next meeting, count the number of statements versus questions you make. Keep the balance tipped toward questions.
2. Show you’re listening and that you’re open to hearing.
Reflect back not only the facts and information that people are saying, but try asking about how they are feeling. If you take what you learn and change your course of action, people will feel listened to—and if they think you like them, they are more willing to like you.
3. Ask for feedback.
It doesn’t need to be formal or fancy. Give your teammates a piece of paper with the following questions:
a) What is the value that I bring to the team?
b) Where could I use my strengths to add more value?
c) What are the limitations you see me working on?
d) Which issues or concerns are blind spots for me?
It might be a little painful at first, but you’re likely to learn that the team wants more of what’s great about you. You’ll also learn about the things that your teammates struggle with. Being open to that kind of feedback will instantly change how people think about you.
It doesn’t take much to get off on the wrong foot with people on your team. Rather than saying that you want things to be different, trying showing that you’re willing and able to change. Ask more questions. Listen and hear. Get some feedback.
Have you ever changed a bad first impression? I’d love to hear how.