Ask Amanda:

My colleague needs to be stronger in her interactions or she’ll limit her options. Help!

Question:
My colleague is extremely talented and I would love to see her promoted. However, she’s very well-liked, which normally wouldn’t be a problem but because she’s invested in being everyone’s favorite, she doesn’t insert herself forcefully when she should or give constructive feedback. How can I show her that she’s getting in the way of her own advancement? A.S., Chicago, IL

Answer:
While I applaud your desire to help your colleague, the question is, “Whose problem is this to solve?” If you were her manager, it’s clear that it would be your responsibility to confirm your assumptions (not inserting herself/giving constructive feedback is impeding her advancement) and hypothesis (“she is invested in being everyone’s favorite”). Since you’re not her manager, why do you feel that you should insert yourself, especially since you have no evidence that your suppositions or conclusions are accurate?

In our desire to help others, boundaries can often get blurred. We can inadvertently overstep with the best of intentions. Imagine how you’d feel if you received unsolicited advice from a peer who was making a critical judgment about your behavior and concluding that you were sabotaging your career. Would you assume your peer was looking out for your best interests? Or would you wonder about their motives? Even if you’re asked for your input, be careful to couch your opinion as just that—an opinion. While you believe your analysis is correct, it’s your judgment and nothing more. If your colleague is also your friend, my advice is the same: it’s her problem to solve and it’s within her control.

Instead of focusing on your colleague’s career, look at your own career and concentrate your efforts where you have more control over the variables.

If you're wondering why corporations act as they do or would like advice on how to navigate the corporate landscape, please Ask Amanda and submit your question here.

You are welcome to reprint this article as long as you include the following in its entirety: Reprinted from “Our Corporate Life®,” a biweekly ezine featuring practical tips and tools for navigating the corporate world. Copyright © MMXVIII Amanda Mitchell and Our Corporate Life LLC All Rights Reserved. Subscribe at www.ourcorporatelife.com/subscribe

Amanda Mitchell is an executive coach and strategist specializing in helping senior executives deal with disruptive drama within their teams. An advertising agency veteran, she experienced first-hand the business implications of corporate drama both with her Fortune 500 clients and within the Manhattan ad agency she led. She founded Our Corporate Life (www.ourcorporatelife.com) to help executives solve the problems no one wants to deal with. She has been published in Bloomberg Businessweek, and quoted in Fast Company, CNBC.com, and Monster.com. She lives in New Jersey with her family.

Corporate Driver: Communication

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Our Bootcamp is designed to get you back to feeling like yourself fast. To avoid overwhelm, we cover critical topics sequentially so you can make small changes quickly and experience immediate results.

1. New Beginnings

We start by creating a clear picture of your desired outcome and showing how feeling stuck can benefit you. You’ll also learn how to increase your physical and mental energy and a quick (less than 5 minutes!), easy way to improve your mood.

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Values impact your behaviors, decisions, relationships and direction in life. Yet your values are often not aligned with your workplace. Standards are what we honor because we believe they will lead us to our goals. Logically you’d think high standards would result in a superior result but just the opposite often occurs. In this session we’ll cover how to maintain your standards when they’re not shared and how to stay true to yourself without making it an issue for others.

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If you’re like most achievers, you welcome and thrive on responsibility. Sometimes, however, your life can feel like one long “to do” list leaving little time to figure out what is working – or not – in your life. We’ll cover how to retrain your teammates, how to redefine your role and the concept of “responsibility without authority” – having one without the other makes success impossible.

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