Although a lot of people view it negatively, you may use it to your advantage in your work(Uncomfort at Work).
We’ve all been there: embarrassed by what we just said to a coworker or fearful that, to save face, we will have to spend all of eternity avoiding that particular coworker.
What if awkwardness was indeed the key to unlocking professional success? Awkwardness is generally considered an insecure, negative quality that must be remedied.
This is the thesis of workplace performance specialist Henna Pryor’s new book, “Good Awkward: How to Embrace the Embarrassing and Celebrate the Cringe to Become the Bravest You.”
They perceive it as a flaw or a weakness that has to be fixed. Pryor reasoned that if I still feel uncomfortable at work, I must not be ready or have little confidence. When, in fact, discomfort is A) a fully universal emotion and B) something that cannot be avoided if professional advancement is the goal because, at every inflexion point of growth, the risk of awkwardness increases tenfold.
According to Pryor, workplace discomfort is “what we feel when the person we believe ourselves to be, so our true selves, is temporarily at odds with the person that people see on display.”
If you work hard enough, you’ll inevitably run into many uncomfortable situations. According to academics and industry experts, there are a few ways to seize those unavoidable opportunities to advance.
According to research, being a little uneasy might help us come out as more approachable and honest to our coworkers.
The fact is that everyone you look up to at work has felt uneasy; they know how to get through it.
“When you think of people who you perceive as super competent, what you’ll notice is that in awkward situations, they actually lean in, they go further into it, they own it, they laugh about it, and they relish the moment, versus the ones we perceive as coming across as less confident are the ones that tend to run in the other direction,” Pryor said.
According to studies, showing your discomfort might make you look more dependable, kind, and cooperative to others. In other words, we reward your effort by wanting to trust and collaborate with you more because we regard social discomfort as a sign that you’re trying.
Participants were more likely to see humiliation as a sign of generosity and social commitment in research published online in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, for instance.
In one of the studies, students looked at pictures of several persons who were either gazing away, grinning slightly in shame, looking blank or proudly. Students were likelier to choose the individual with an uncomfortable look when the researchers asked them, “If this person were a fellow student, how likely is it that you would ask her to join a study group that you were a part of?”
According to Matthew Feinberg, the paper’s primary author, “Moderate levels of humiliation are evidence of virtue…According to our research, embarrassment is a healthy thing that shouldn’t be avoided.
Pryor claimed that embracing her clumsiness had been beneficial. She remembered a meeting where she mistook a client’s hand raise for a high-five following her pitch.
And I thought, ‘Yes…killed it.’ I then embraced him vigorously. He says, “I put my hand up because I was telling you to stop,” in the following breath. And I thought, “Oh, my God.” God, oh, God. How embarrassing. It’s embarrassing,'” Pryor said.
She claimed that at that precise moment, admitting to having misinterpreted the circumstance and calling it “beyond awkward” to him helped.
Because he now recognized me as a person, Pryor recalled, “It was truly startling how swiftly his shoulders relaxed. “I ended up closing the deal, but I honestly am thankful for that moment because it was the point of connection we needed in a stiff conversation.”
According to psychologist and executive coach Lauren Appio, admitting uneasiness might first be unpleasant but eventually be comforting.
“If you find yourself thinking back on a conversation. Push yourself to go up to the other person and explain what happened. Not from a position of needing confirmation but only from one of acknowledgement. Simply saying, “Hey, I know I had a lot to say about your idea this morning,” can be enough. Or, say, ‘I realized I walked right by you the other day!’ she suggested. “You’re just demonstrating some self-awareness; you’re not necessarily apologizing, explaining, or asking for forgiveness.”
Acknowledging your embarrassment may be advantageous for both of you:
You come across as socially aware. you offer your coworker implicit permission to comment on whether the conversation was awkward.
“Frequently, if a repair is necessary. The recognition alone will take care of it, or you’ll at least receive some reassurance and connection in return. All of these results are positive. You stated Appio.
Accept the chance to share your flawed experiences. Your coworkers will understand.
Beyond just labelling complex interactions as such. You may improve working relationships by examining the root of your emotions and talking about them with others. This is how:
Reconsider your preconceived notions regarding your uneasiness.
“Perhaps you’re not awkward; you’re real, honest, or straightforward. According to Appio, these traits may also make us creative, compassionate, invested, and relatable. “Perhaps you’re a really thoughtful person and need time to organize your ideas before you share them. So being put on the spot leaves you feeling a bit tongue-tied,” she added.
Instead of exhausting ourselves to fit into a mold, she added, “When we recognize these qualities as gifts, our energy can be freed up to approach our work and career our way.”
Recognize that a single embarrassing incident won’t make or ruin your relationship.
Think back to moments when someone interacted with you awkwardly, Appio said. You might find it difficult to recall them because most of us forget about these encounters very afterwards. I’m hoping that realization alone may give you some comfort.
If you’re a leader, accept that you’re not flawless.
At the beginning of meetings, Pryor advised leaders to tell “cracked egg stories” regarding errors or initiatives that went wrong while inviting team members to do the same. It can assist in normalizing setbacks and motivating, particularly in hybrid organizations where coworkers have less visibility into what they are each doing.
Keep in mind that you are not alone in feeling uneasy.
Appio stated, “We’ve all been embarrass over something we’ve said or done. “Hopefully, we can use those very human experiences to show ourselves and one another a little grace.”
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