I’m serving as the team lead (non-technical) for a software implementation. Last week the vendors came for a site visit to do some initial testing. After a successful week, we said our goodbye’s and the representative from logistics headquarters said to me, “I’m not sure what you do here, but you seem important.” All I could think of was this classic scene:
I had been doing some work behind the scenes that week. Mostly, I had let the people who were actually using the software to handling the testing functions themselves. To be overly involved seemed like micro-managing to me. But surely I could have done a better job of defining my value, right? I know that introverts tend to have trouble marketing themselves but another thought came to me, this one from the late Iron Lady herself –
Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t. – Margret Thatcher
If I have to emphasize that I’m in the lead, does that highlight insecurities I might have about my control over the project? Does my quiet demeanor mean that I have confidence in my team? Or am I selling myself short by not promoting myself and taking credit where credit is do?
Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth.
Sadly, the U.S. values extroverts and overlooks introverts. As an introvert, and someone who values humility, I despise self-promotion. But it seems like it is necessary to stay afloat and get ahead in this country. For your situation, a subtle approach would be to give a quick overview of team members’ roles — yourself included — during the introductions at the onset of the visit. That is useful information for the vendors to know, and I don’t think it would come across as insecure.
I totally agree, you should state what you do once, and then don’t dwell on it – your actions will speak when they need to.
Thanks Kari, Melissa, & Priscilla for your comments. 🙂