In modern jobs, we often wear multiple hats. Those who best understand this reality, are best positioned to excel in their jobs. Today, we will highlight the importance of understanding that today, most roles demand that you hold multiple hats and change the hats depending on the situation. The more adaptive you are to rapidly changing situations, the more suited you are for modern jobs.
You might come from a meeting with a supplier of goods and services, in which relationship you are a buyer and then next you jump into another meeting with one of your clients who is complaining about the quality of services they receive from your company. In the latter case, you are obviously a supplier of services which means that you have now swapped roles – although perhaps with a completely different person/company. You might then go into a meeting with your team where you are obviously the ‘boss’ and then finally you need to report progress of your actions and team to your line manager in which case you are now the junior.
What compounds all this is the rate at which situations force us to change the hat we wear. This phenomenon looks very simple but check out there to find out how many people fail to wear the right hat! You will be shocked. I have been shocked and surprised many times at how people wear the wrong hat. For instance, you will find a supplier of goods and services is behaving as if he is the one who is the client to you. Instead of treating you like a customer or client, he is treating you like his junior or someone he pays when actually his bread and butter depends on your paying him and that you have the liberty to stop doing business with him.
Similarly, have you never come across a junior staff member who for a moment forgets that he is working with someone they report to? Or even the other way round where the boss behaves like a junior? It is very important to understand the role we are in every now and then. It is important to constantly scan and update our current state or mode of operation so that we are constantly aligned with how we ought to project ourselves.
The good thing is that many people know how they ought to behave or project themselves in many different scenarios. The problem is remembering or recognising which mode they currently are in and then to constantly scan and update the mode of operation.
What about when you are not sure how you ought to behave and project yourself in a particular mode of operation? For instance, you have recently been promoted to manager, how should you project yourself as manager? Or you have recently taken up your first job as a salesman, how should you behave and project yourself? In absence of any known method, I always go for emulating the best and tested. Look for someone who has done what you are doing for the first time. Identify, in particular, someone who has done it for a long time and done it really well, one who is respected in their field. Observe how he or she does his job and how he or she projects himself or herself. If possible, request to shadow that person for a while to learn and acquire his or her skills.
Work life keeps changing and won’t become easier. We are constantly called upon to work and operate in multiple modes. Lucky are those who have mastered the art of operating in multiple modes. You too are now aware of this need and aware of the general framework that you can use to develop your skill of operating in multiple modes. If you do this, you will surely rise and shine! Good luck!