Talking Tips

Three steps to take back your power if you are professionally scarred 

So many professionals have had awful experiences with senior management or sometimes colleagues. Most people who have spent any time in the workplace have seen or even experienced unfairness, sabotage and more.

Understandably sometimes this takes a deeply rooted affect on the victim if they fail to deal with the traumatization. Unfortunately, the long term affects of these experiences can play a role in stunting your professional growth and most victims are unaware of the negative repercussions that begin to play out in their life as a result. Sometimes they can even go to a new job and find the same pattern repeating itself.

When clients come to me to help them to communicate in the workplace in the way they want people to see them, the sessions often move beyond basic communication skills. I often discover their communication is being shaped by some deep seeded experience they may not have released.

The way we communicate is a result of what is going on in our subconscious mind. It has a lot to do with the way we see ourselves or how we think others view us. If you are operating from a place of fear, hurt, anger or defense, it will be difficult to convey yourself as a consummate professional who possesses emotional intelligence and confidence.

Here are five things you can do to take control and communicate in the way you want to be perceived.

Firstly, you must recognize you have been wounded. Many people do not make the connection. Sometimes we know there is something that is holding us back professionally, but we fail to appreciate the effect an experience has had on us; therefore, we do not link it to our behavior. Bad experiences in the workplace can play out in behavior that is cold, callous, indifferent or always focused on trying to validate or protect yourself. It may seem this is an appropriate response, but behavior that is driven from a negative place will rarely render positive results.

Secondly, take an objective look at how your behavior may be negatively affecting you, your relationships with your colleagues and professional advancement. I had a client who came to me because she struggled with fostering good relationships with her seniors. She had a bad experience with a manager before and it scarred her. Her entire focus throughout her career was focused on never allowing that to happen to her again. She developed a natural distrust toward management, she built a wall to protect herself. She became an ‘outsider’ when it came to her seniors. It followed her even when she worked with someone new. She would have as little to say as possible and although she was compliant, she was branded as difficult. This was not serving her.

Thirdly, forgive and let go. I say this at the risk of sounding corny or simplistic. However, anything you hold will continue to control you. You can only take back your power when you choose to forgive and release it. If you allow resentment to take a foothold, it is highly likely you will continue to experience the same patterns, even in other areas of your life. Why? Because whatever we focus on expands. My client basically closed herself off to a different experience with a new manager, her antennas were set to pick up on being treated unfairly and they always found it.

Before you can begin to work on the mechanics of your communication, you must first work on your inner game.

If you are interested in one-on-one coaching to help you to take back your personal power so you can communicate in a way that will advance your career and position you as a leader, send me an email.

• Kim Welcome is the chief executive officer and founder of Influential Voice. She assists businesses and professionals to develop deliberate, skillful, polished communication skills to increase their impact and influence. Her clients range from the country’s largest and most prestigious employers to public figures and individual professionals. Feel free to contact at

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