I know many individuals in our industry who have effective, natural and mature leadership skills, but are not recognized for these qualities. These men and women make up a group I call the “quietly competent.” This article is designed for the individuals within that group who have a desire to demonstrate more leadership in the workplace, but who feel a bit too shy about doing so. But for their shyness, or perhaps more accurately their personal humility, they would be fulfilling greater responsibilities in their remain unnoticed, like an untapped reservoir. If you are one of the quietly competent, here are some phrases you can use in the workplace that will subtly demonstrate your hidden leadership talents:
“I’ll do that.” This phrase allows you to take responsibility for a particular task without having to be asked to do it. When you are asked, you demote yourself to a position of just following orders. When you willingly step up to become accountable for the performance of a task, you let others know that you are a person of action.
“What’s the principal objective?” Even when you have been asked to perform a particular task, such as the drafting of a farmout agreement, you demonstrate confidence and leadership by asking this question. Rather than merely drafting a boilerplate agreement, you can learn what the primary objective is—it could be retaining operatorship, preserving acreage or getting the best available net revenue before payout. This quiet leadership enables you to stay on top of the task, rather than merely responding to a routine to-do item.
“I will report on my progress and results.” With this statement you establish the momentum to get the job done. You will have demonstrated confidence in your ability to perform and report back to your supervisor. As you perform and report back, you will eliminate confusion and strengthen the relationship of trust between you and your employer or manager.
“I will need assistance with….” This statement places you in the leadership light. It shows that you have taken charge of the task, analyzed your resources and identified your needs. Even if you are not granted the reasonable assistance you requested, you will look good by getting the job done on your own. In the best of worlds, you will be provided the manpower or other support you need—people and resources under your management and control.
“I appreciate this challenging assignment.” Such a phrase helps you look strong and willing to expand your role. You convey the message that you have the capacity to handle greater responsibilities.
Remember, leadership is not in the phrases you use. The real power comes from the performance of the task consistent with your verbal message. Learning to verbalize one’s leadership and to walk the talk, is a method very suitable to those humble, diligent workers who are the backbone of that unique group, the “quietly competent.”
When you see something that could be a future problem, do it now. Take the 90 seconds to file that document, make that call, replace the worn tires, and move the bicycle from behind the car—before it becomes a problem. As you learn to implement the 90-second principle in your life, you will prevent accidents, problems, lost time, stress and frustration.