27 September 2023

Finding your footing in the modern workplace

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Cayla Dengate* talks to futurist, Dominic Price who suggests different approaches to old problems that confront people changing jobs or getting a promotion.

I want to meet the team I’ll be working with.”

Would you be game to ask a prospective employer that question?

Work futurist, Dominic Price says the ‘try before you buy’ model is a great way of truly understanding whether you can thrive in a new team.

“We often meet leaders but we don’t meet the team when applying for a job,” Price says.

“I hired someone recently and I gave him a 90-minute sparring session with the people that would be their team.”

He says we often are asked the question: “How do you approach a problem?” in a job interview.

“I don’t want your theory, I want to partner you with the person you’d be working with and … let’s do it.

“Let’s pretend we’re having a workshop,” Price says.

“It’s a two-way process — you find out if you like our way of working and we find out if we like your way.”

Price suggests asking these questions to start to figure out whether a team is right for you.

How do your teams operate? What is your secret sauce? How do you escalate or resolve problems and conflict?

What goes wrong? What role can I play? What does success look like?

We all occasionally have a little voice on our shoulder after a work meeting that snipes at us.

It asks: Am I smart enough to belong here? Did I step on my colleague’s toes? Was it awkward after I made a suggestion?

These sentiments can fall under the umbrella of imposter syndrome, which feels like a deeply personal problem.

Surely imposter syndrome is an individual thing, with nothing to do with the team, right?

Well, not entirely.

New research from Australian software company, Atlassian shows imposter syndrome actually has a team element.

While 42 per cent of respondents in the research acknowledged they exhibited impostor syndrome, the rate was higher among people who identified their teams as innovative, or those who had greater location flexibility.

Price says when teams work together in person, the day is filled with micro-reassurances that give us confidence.

“We see each other’s success, and we see that if something goes wrong, they don’t get fired,” he says.

“We get all those little micro-reassurances that make us say ‘you know what, I might not be the best, but I’m not the worst and it’s alright’.

“When you take away those signals and all you’ve got is video conferencing, meetings can become very transactional.

“That just increases imposter syndrome.”

So what can we do about it?

He says: “Reassurance and acknowledgement of someone’s services and skills is an antidote to imposter syndrome.”

*Cayla Dengate is a senior news editor at LinkedIn. Based in Sydney, she advises job seekers on how to get hired. She can be contacted on LinkedIn.

This article first appeared at linkedin.com

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