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Let the quality of our work speak for itself ?

For most of us, it's a mistake to just let the quality of our work speak for itself, because sooner or later the quality of your relationships will prevail over the work. That was a watershed insight for me.

You have to recognize there will be a moment in time when you will not be able to be represented by the quality of your work but rather by the relationships you have. If you're in a crisis, what matters is what you're made of and what you believe and how well you can express that. What I say to people is to get ready for those moments by practicing every chance you get to take the lead, to step out in front of the work. Don't hide behind it.

When those moments come along and you need to draw on resources that are internal and your personal belief system, if you don't know what they are, others will tell you what they are. People can then come to you and say, "Well, you just don't know how to lead from the front," a critique I've never understood.

Self-knowledge is so obvious-sounding that I hate to use it like that, but in fact you can be masterful at doing the work and you can be good in team relationships, but one day you will be called on to have difficult, complex relationships and a different part of you has to be used for that.

-- Charlotte Beers


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