Written by Randy Striegel, People & Organization Development
Tatiana Morrell, Director of Community Operations at Uber, suggests that leaning into your strengths can help you drive your professional growth. “You’ll go further by expanding on what you’re already good at than you will by forcing yourself to be something you’re not,” she says.
Not all employees are created equal. And that’s a good thing! Depending on your team’s design, for example, it’s likely that the strengths you bring to your role differ, at least slightly, from your colleagues’ strengths. And if you’re part of a high-performing team, those strengths—and growth areas—usually complement one another.
So what’s the best way to leverage your strengths to grow and develop your career—particularly across today’s demanding, fast-paced, cross-functional workforce? Well, for starters, it helps to know what you’re good at.
“Know your strengths and lean into them,” says Tatiana. “You’ll go further by expanding on what you’re already good at then you will by forcing yourself to be something you’re not. While I can look into the details, it’s not my go-to behavior, so I make sure that my team is strong in areas where I’m not as strong.”
Tatiana is among a handful of leaders joining a career panel this month to share their professional growth stories with employees across Uber. The event is part of a wider company initiative called Drive Your Growth Week, which is designed to help empower Uber employees to take ownership of their professional development.
Three of those leaders have agreed to share their tips here to help employees everywhere maximize their strengths. Here are their top 5:
Understand your priorities
“Apply your strengths to maximize impact for your company and its customers, then prioritize your org or team, and then what’s best for you,” says Megha Yethadka, Sr. Director, PgM, Tech, who’s been with Uber for just over 6 years. “If you do this, the best for you will automatically follow. We tend to often prioritize from our lens—what am I interested in or excited about or defending, what my team does, etc. The right thing to do even for yourself is to start with focusing on what’s right for the company and its customers.”
Determine which projects give you the most satisfaction—and which drain you the most
“This will help you identify what brings you joy,” says Tatiana, who’s been with Uber for 4 years. “Share this with your manager so they can understand the types of projects you most enjoy. I had an employee do this introspection and I was completely surprised that a project that she had done phenomenal in was a project that she hated. It helped me understand where she wanted to work even when her output was solid on every project.”
Be professional and respectful always
“People make mistakes—you will make mistakes,” says Susan Elaine Anderson, VP, Global Head of Uber for Business, who’s been at Uber for 5 and a half years. “People also often have different views: what do they know that you don’t? Don’t use language that’s derogatory to others or overly critical. If you have an issue with something, approach the person directly to talk it through—and listen carefully to their point of view. Don’t bring negativity into the office, it creates an unpleasant culture. Act with maturity to address and resolve concerns or lead the changes you’d like to see.”
Ask for feedback
“Whether it’s formal performance feedback from your manager or peers or informal feedback, it’s all a gift,” Tatiana says. “High achievers tend to focus on the areas of improvement, but don’t ignore the positive things people say about you!”
Focus on the details
“Think through all the interdependencies and risks from what you’re doing and ensure that you address these,” Susan says. “Get input to ensure that you’ve thought about all the interdependencies and risks. Don’t make assumptions, use data. Be clear what the customer experience will be in detail.”
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