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How to avoid being a ‘yes man’

Developing your career should be a top priority regardless of whether you’re looking to work your way up the internal ladder, or move on to a new challenge elsewhere. But it is all too easy when trying to progress to become subservient; someone who is compliant and obedient.

As you look to make a good impression to potential new employers or current line managers, appeasing them can be a popular choice. After all why would you disagree with someone who holds your career in their hands? But this behaviour could actually put you on the back foot in comparison to other individuals willing to voice their opinion.

Consider what the interviewer or your line manager is looking for. Will they be after someone who is a continual ‘yes man’, or someone who acts as a credible consultant and adds value to the business? The latter is obviously the more beneficial investment.

So how can you banish subservience?

First off, remember that you are an expert in your field and people will want to employ you for that reason, so don’t undermine your value. If you lack confidence in yourself, this will reflect to others externally.

And don’t be afraid to be honest – if you have a particular suggestion which you feel will benefit the company and highlight your knowledge, make your point known. If you are concerned about causing conflict, ask yourself why you disagree. If you can validate your argument, then it is worth raising it.

Don’t disagree simply for the sake of it though. Ask the interviewer or your manager why they have come to a particular decision, then voice any queries you have. Finally, but perhaps more importantly, if you are disagreeing with a particular argument, make sure you have an alternative in mind. Providing a solution will not only stand you in good stead, but will also really emphasise your expertise and build professional respect amongst your peers.

 

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