Creating Your Own Personal Board of Directors
By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor
We’ve all experienced tough times in our career such as, being looked over for a promotion, having a program declined, or having a major problem with a co-worker or boss. These are times when we may feel alone and vulnerable and in dire need of some sound advice. As these situations are bound to happen many times in our work life, consider putting together a small group of individuals that you can turn to for help when needed – your own personal “Board of Directors”.
Start by identifying trusted confidants. Everyone should have a least one or two people to reach out to when a difficult issue arises. Establish these relationships before you need them so they will be ready when you do. Consider individuals who have common sense and qualities that you admire. They don’t always have to be in your profession and they shouldn’t be your compatible friends who may tell you only what you already know. The goal is to select wise people who will challenge you, ask important questions, help you think differently and get you out of your comfort zone.
Trusting your “board members” is essential as you’ll need to have candid conversations and possible share confidential information to help you find the right solution. If you’ve selected the right people, they should be 100% reliable to keep discussions private and you should feel comfortable saying what is on your mind. This could include your feelings about someone treating you badly, a failed work assignment, a personnel issue, or more. Sometimes during these situations, emotions can cloud judgement and your person should help you be able to seek different ways of looking at the problem, while helping you sort out the obstacles and solutions.
When you need to consult one of your “board members”, you may consider meeting them for coffee or dinner to articulate your problem. Often, one on one conversations are best. Keep the discussion informal and schedule another meeting for follow up if needed. If you’ve selected the right people, you will receive some needed guidance which will help you see a way through the issue with confidence.