The modesty of new hires always surprises

I've been doing a lot of management and mentoring lately.  Sounds like fun, right?  Sometimes it can be.

The best part is learning about the skills and capabilities of the team.  It takes work though.  Maybe I've just seen a lot of modesty lately.  We had one team member who had been in the field for 4 years and he had been on this team for at least 8 months before he spilled his secret.  He had led the team on his last contract.  He had led the team for 3 of those 4 years, yet he had never said a word about it.  Not one accidental slip up, nothing.  I was so surprised to hear this, I can't remember if I deliberately asked or he deliberately told me.

I remember doing much the same thing when I left consulting for a stint in the public sector.  I had grown tired of being the star, tired of the big (and nasty) projects, tired of the meetings.  I was determined to fade into the background, assess the lay of the land first, then make the right move (and make it only once).  It worked to a degree.  It's hard to hide your presentation and communication skills when asked to demo or explain a new feature.  I probably thought I was hiding but I may have been in plain sight.

Now, I've been on the other side of the fence, helping clients manage their projects, assessing and mentoring their staff.  You've absolutely got to talk to people, engage them, find out what makes them tick.  If you don't, their modesty may hide their true value to the organization.

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