The red flags we need to be aware of

Our professional journey often has a chequered path. We begin as individual contributors and move our way in our careers. Some become people managers and go right up to leadership positions. And sometimes, go back to being individual contributors when they don the hat of a consultant. Irrespective of the position that you hold, as a communicator you are a critical thread in the overall success of the organisation that you represent or have as your client.

The communication world has a plethora of best practices laid out for us to capture and assimilate in our day to day activities. We learn from each other. But our success is not only dependent on our ‘good to have’ or ‘must have’ attributes. It is equally important that one is aware of attributes that can easily make things go awry and out of control.

The new environment that we are in now has bought with it challenges as well as opportunities. We need to grasp these opportunities and change the way we work. We need to constantly grow and seek out innovative and creative ways of working.

To avoid falling into the trap of a closed mind-set that hampers growth, here are some red flags that we need to be aware of.

  • Keeping knowledge to ourselves

It is said that you need light to light a candle. We all know that knowledge shared is knowledge gained. Yet time again and again we come across people who are unwilling to share information. Having a fixed mind-set can be extremely detrimental to one’s own growth and professional development.

Tip: Learning never stops. Every day is a day for new learning. 

  • Saying no to collaboration

Working in silos is no longer fashionable. The world has changed. When we say no to collaborations and working with diverse teams, we only land up being defensive. Playing politics and confining activities to oneself can be a path of self-destruction. Be aware here!

Tip: The solution to your problem can come from just anywhere and anyone.

  • Sticking to our comfort zone

Let us face it – it is never easy to topple the apple cart. Why should one indeed? Taking risks come with its own set of risks. The ability to fail and the begin all over again calls for resilience. That is a skill that one needs to hone while discarding the fears of embarrassment and insecurities. Those who stay glued to their comfort zone miss out on being innovative and are unable to navigate change.

Tip: Risks and failures are two sides of the same coin. The path to success is built through failures.

  • Resisting accountability

“The price of greatness is responsibility”, so said Winston Churchill. Responsibility and accountability need broad shoulders. It is easy to fall into the trap of passing the buck and not follow up on completion of a task. This not only undermines one’s own capabilities but also stems overall organisational growth.

Tip: Own your actions. Be the driver for your own growth.

  • Undermining feedback

Giving and receiving feedback often fall at the bottom of the ‘to do’ activities of many people. Afterall, feedbacks can be harsh and not everyone has the capacity to take it in the right spirit. People who do not value feedback lose out on an avenue to reassess and improve themselves.

Tip: Know yourself better. Focus on self-awareness and areas of improvement.

  • Pushing away new knowledge

The world of communication has changed and how! New channels, new media, new marketing mix, and new platforms call for communicators to be up to date with knowledge and information. By not upgrading skill sets through relevant learning, you lose out on the ability to adapt to change.

Tip: Stay relevant. Keep pace with change.

The future belongs not to subject matter experts but to those who understand the value of collaboration and partnerships, are able to manage change, and to those for whom learning never stops.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Sarita Bahl
Country Group Head CSR at Bayer - South Asia
Sarita Bahl leads the Corporate Social Responsibility function for Bayer South Asia and is also the Director – Bayer Prayas Association. Prior to this, she successfully oversaw the communications and public affairs function for Bayer South Asia. Over her three decades of professional experience, Sarita has held multiple roles across diverse industries, public sector, trade associations, MNCs and the Not-for-profit sector. An alumnus of Tata Institute of Social Science and the Swedish Institute of Management Program, Sarita specializes in stakeholder engagement, sustainability and communications. She is passionate about animals (is mother to a female cat), books and movies.

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