And we don’t want them to be.
We may be considered a relatively small agency, but Liquid has a lot of different personalities across multiple departments. Variety in temperament tends to lead to different work and problem-solving styles.
In contrast to working in a more rigid corporate environment, I feel comfortable enough at Liquid to say that individual thoughts and opinions, regardless of title or tenure, are taken into account on a daily basis. Jim, our President, constantly reminds us that his door is always open to talk about any concerns we may have and that our opinion is valued and heard. This approach may be unique depending on where you work, but I believe it increases an employee’s appreciation for their workplace and motivation to be productive.
I recently read this Forbes Contributor column about “Ten Reasons not to be the Perfect Employee.” It got me thinking about how we encourage those same ideas here at Liquid. Here are some everyday examples of how I apply those concepts as a project manager, plus how they can apply to you regardless of the type of work you do.
If there was a problem, yo I’ll solve it
Aside from the corny Vanilla Ice reference, if you check “strongly agree” with every question your boss asks you about your current role or contribution, you’ll just be building the illusion that everything is fine. If you actually have an issue that needs attention, bringing it to upper management can improve your situation and the company as a whole, and that should always be encouraged. Ignoring issues for the sake of seeming more agreeable will just be a lost opportunity for problem solving and growth at your company.
You don’t need to please everyone
In an extremely client-facing role as a project manager, I’ve learned that being best friends with everyone on your team is irrelevant if the client is not kept happy as the end goal. I’m not saying that you need to call out fellow employees in an aggressive way, but if a team member is not giving you what you need to satisfy client expectations, that needs to be addressed. I’ve definitely learned that different personalities need to be approached in different of ways, but that is no reason to create roadblocks or make your job more difficult.
Trust me, I get it, everyone is busy and feels like their plate is already full. But, if you see an area of the business that could use more attention or be improved upon, take that on as a personal project. If you are particularly passionate about something, it will tend to be your best work, and I promise, it won’t go unnoticed. Like #7 from the Forbes article, if you never test where the boundaries of your influence can be in your workplace, how will you ever know?
Transparency is key
Like #10 in the article, if you agree with bad ideas or poorly planned tasks, chances are there is a high risk for failure. Being up front and open with your team about the goals and deliverables of a project should minimize room for error. I can see how sometimes it may be easier to move forward with decisions just because a decision has been made, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is the right one. If your team raises a red flag about the project, don’t be afraid to listen and do something about it.
If you have a constructive opinion, don’t let it fall to the wayside just to avoid potential conflict. Successful companies must continually adapt and learn from different situations. Sometimes the catalyst needed for change is just a fresh perspective to open up a creative and productive channel for improvement.
Want to learn more about what we do at Liquid? Check out the Ten Things You Should Know About Us.
About Emily Ascani (Alumni)
Emily Ascani served as Project Management Team Lead at Liquid Interactive. She was responsible for the coordination and completion of projects for a number of Liquid’s clients including Mack Trucks, Martin Guitar and Olympus.