In this Era of Hustling, it seems like everyone is working overtime just to get noticed – taking on extra assignments or vying to be the last one to leave the office.
I’m here to tell you there’s a way to set yourself apart without having to work harder but smarter.
The key is to position yourself as an innovator. In today’s business landscape, companies are looking for employees who consistently make meaningful contributions to the organization – not just bide their time. You have to make waves to be seen and heard out there – you have to become a disruptor.
In the last article, I shared why this is so important for Black women in particular. Now, let’s dive into how to make it happen at work.
Bringing Disruption to the Workplace
Disruption is a term that’s thrown around a lot these days, but Black women have been disruptors since the beginning of time. Innovating, taking risks, showing up unapologetically as our authentic selves, and always looking for new ways to make things happen.
And is it any surprise this comes so naturally to us when it was once our only way to survive?
In a business setting, being a disruptor means being able to challenge the status quo, to think outside the box, and to propose new and better ways of doing things. It’s about being unafraid to strut across the ground where no one has walked before.
If it sounds uncomfortable, well, that’s because it can be, but the good news is it gets easier with practice.
There are five steps that I subscribe to when looking to shake things up in the workplace. Here are the first two ways you can put disruption into action:
1. Speak Up
This one might seem obvious, but it’s worth repeating. Too often, we stay silent when we have something valuable to contribute to the conversation. Whether it’s because we don’t want to ruffle any feathers or we don’t want to seem like we’re trying to take over, we hold back when we should be speaking up.
The next time you’re in a meeting, make it a point to share your thoughts and ideas. If you’re worried about how you’ll be received, start by framing your comments as questions. For example, “I’m not sure if I’m understanding this correctly, but could it be approached in a different way?” or “Have we considered doing X instead of Y?”
This allows you to test the waters. And who knows, your input just might be the game-changer that propels the project forward.
2. Step Outside Your Comfort Zone
In order to be a true disruptor, you have to be comfortable with change – which means stepping outside your comfort zone on a regular basis. If you’re the type of person who likes to stick to the tried and true, it’s time to experiment a little.
Try taking on assignments that are outside of your usual scope of work. Or, if you’re usually the one who takes a backseat in meetings, try taking charge for once. It can be scary, but it’s also exhilarating and empowering.
Figure out what makes you feel uncomfortable and do it, again and again, until it starts to feel normal. Remember, the goal is to push boundaries – not to stay safely within them.
Next week I’ll unpack the additional three steps needed to put workplace disruption into action. Stay tuned!!