“People don’t like to hear what he thinks, but 90% of the time he’s right.”
That was someone’s defense of a brilliant technical team member who had made a lot of enemies because of how he shared his opinions.
But when I consider the impact he had on the organization, I’d turn that statement around:
“90% of the time he’s right, but people don’t like to hear what he thinks.”
When your ideas will help the company but people won’t adopt them because they don’t like or trust you, those ideas don’t in fact help the company.
If you want to advance in your career — whether in a management or a technical track — positive relationships with others are crucial.
Here are just a few top-of-mind tips:
✅ Make time to converse regularly with colleagues in other departments
✅ Verbally and publicly support other people when you agree with their ideas
✅ Explore potential risks and consequences of all ideas without making value judgments
✅ Embrace feedback to improve your ideas and express appreciation when people give it — even when you can’t fully agree with it.
❌ Restrict your conversations to required meetings with your supervisor and your immediate team members
❌ Point out that you had already thought of an idea that someone else shares — even if it’s one you’ve been trying to get across for months.
❌ Use judgmental characterizations such as “ridiculous,” “idiotic,” ”stupid,” “unforgivable,” “embarrassing,” “shameful,” etc. when assessing other people’s ideas
❌ Respond to criticism with defensiveness, dismissiveness, or counterattack.
When people respect your ideas as well as your relationship, you’ll have a far greater impact on your organization, and you’ll eliminate a lot of personal frustration.
And you’ll likely find that you’re no longer “surrounded by idiots.”