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I want to have more of a voice at work!

If you don’t feel like you have a voice at work, the first thing we would look at is what is stopping you from fulfilling your potential in that situation. Do you for example lack confidence in your own abilities? Are you naturally more introverted, working alongside team mates who are more extroverted and more comfortable with the sound of their own voice, or confident in their ideas? Or perhaps you feel you lack the right technical knowledge to really shine in the role you’re in.

Then, we would focus on the group itself, and what is your role in the environment you’re in. It is through both groups and individuals that we get the most information about how we are in the world. Through our interactions with others we derive our sense of self, self-esteem and confidence – which in turn affects our mood, our performance and our contribution in the workplace. We also use our social environments to work out and hone what drives us and motivates us, what we value and consider to be important. Therefore as part of your personal development, a thorough understanding of the team dynamics you face at work is vital to help you see your place in it and develop your ideas on how you could contribute more effectively. What role do you play? Are you the organiser, the leader, the researcher, the instigator, the challenger and so on. How do other people impact your ability to have a voice? Perhaps your colleagues remind you of people from your past, which may be clouding your judgement of a situation.

We don’t do this to find ways to blame other people for how we are in the group; we can’t change their behaviour and you won’t experience personal growth by doing this (as appealing as this might be, it’s just not a strategy for success!). What we can do once we have gathered this information, is to look at ways you be may be sabotaging yourself, and start to work together on strategies that will help you achieve your goal of having more of a voice in the group you work with. This might be looking at your own sense of self-worth and confidence, and it could be about becoming clearer about your role and what you can offer the group. Or in the cases where you’re offering the group too much but still not communicating what you really want to, we would take a look at the boundaries you set to ensure you are not taken advantage of. You can see how there are lots of different things to explore here, and therefore the approach must be tailored to your individual needs.

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