As Jeffrey walked into the room, he made sure to introduce himself to any new faces. Right away he stuck out his hand and said, “Hi, I am Jeffrey Zieba; you have probably heard about me, I am the youngest person ever to be promoted to an executive position at our company.” Attendees who already knew Jeffrey were rolling their eyes at Jeffrey behind his back. They had seen this act many times before. Jeffrey made sure that everyone was well aware of his title and achievement. After Jeffrey completed his rounds he announced, “OK we can start the meeting now.”
The meeting facilitator activated a conference call line. There was one other executive who was going to participate via call-in. The phone rang and rang. Jeffrey said to the meeting facilitator, “What number are you using?” The facilitator gave him the number. Jeffrey reached over and disconnected the call stating, “That does not sound like any conference call number I have ever used.” (Apparently Jeffrey was not only the youngest and brightest at the company, but he also had all of the conference call numbers memorized.)
A few minutes later the phone range. The facilitator picked up the call. As the facilitator (and others in the rooms) expected, it was their call-in participant. He was quickly placed on speaker phone. He was calm and ready to work. All he said was, “Hi, this is Don Friant, I tried our regularly scheduled call-in number and it did not work.” Technically Don outranked Jeffrey who said nothing, so the facilitator quickly said, “Oh, our call was disconnected.” Finally the meeting got started.
Bears frequently claw trees to mark their territory. Dogs lift their legs on fire hydrants, trees, bushes and whatever else they deem appropriate. People like Jeffrey do it by making a big deal out of their title and status. Is it always necessary to mark your territory? Sure some companies thrive on title and status. Unfortunately this means you do need your title and status so that people understand how to work with you. When you find it necessary to let people know your rank, a simple introduction will probably do the trick. If you act like a respected, responsible, intelligent member of the team, people will treat you like one; you don’t even have to claw a tree.
Margaret Meloni heads Meloni Coaching Solutions, which helps Information Technology professionals create career strategies that bring them success and enhance their work experiences. Margaret has more than 18 years experience in Information Technology. During this time Margaret has performed in multiple roles including: senior manager; project management expert; business analyst and programmer analyst. She holds a B.S. in Business Administration and an M.B.A. from California State University, Long Beach. She is also a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) through the Project Management Institute and an instructor at the University of California in Irvine and the University of California in Los Angeles. A dynamic speaker who combines inspiration, common sense and a dash of humor; Margaret has spoken at technology conferences and events hosted by the Association of Information Technology Professionals; The Project Management Institute and The International Institute of Business Analysis.