From my very first full-time job, I’ve always noticed ways that software, processes, and documentation could be improved.
Obtuse software design and jargon-filled descriptions are things I find frustrating.
However, early in my career I often shared my thoughts in a negative light. Because I was highly critical, I was labelled a moaner, and sometimes ignored.
My comments could have been phrased more positively, but the ideas were there.
Over the years, I’ve learned that phrasing is important – but also that you’ve got to pick your battles. Some changes will be more valuable than others.
Social media sites such as LinkedIn are full of people with lots of great ideas. Lots of suggestions for how to improve. But many posts focus on YOU, more than anyone else.
There will always be fresh faces joining the workforce. People who haven’t yet figured out which ideas are worth fighting for. People who don’t know how to phrase things in a way that will convince other people that they have merit.
We can help to get those ideas heard, by listening and asking why they matter to the person. We can back those people, help them to pitch their ideas, and – most importantly – ensure they are credited for them if they are taken forward.
A simple acknowledgement, or a “great idea!”, or a thumbs up emoji is a good start.
The more we encourage people to share their ideas, the more they’ll do it.
I could’ve done with more encouragement when I was younger. Luckily I did find enough people who looked out for me, but I had to push past a great deal of resistance.
Don’t be someone who holds others back.