Ask HR: What does HR mean when they say I need to have an ‘edge?’
What you need to know:
- Pundits do not have a shared list of qualities that provide individuals with edge in their careers.
- Among other factors, one’s nature, ambition, capacity, and environment could influence whether they develop edge.
- This notwithstanding, a few aspects might contribute to the development of an edge in your career, regardless of context.
During a recent Q&A session, a visiting executive advised that without ‘edge’ it is impossible to go far in one’s career. When I asked my line manager what edge means practically, she dismissed it as corporate fluff and told me to work hard. Is there merit in this?
Granted that the career advice you received emanated from an executive in your organisation, it may be worth your consideration. He may have borrowed directly from years of personal experience. There might also be merit in what your line manager suggests. If you have worked and interacted with her for some time, you can probably judge the credibility of her utterances. Did she unravel the meaning of corporate fluff? Has she offered alternative advice that has improved your career experience?
Pundits do not have a shared list of qualities that provide individuals with edge in their careers. Among other factors, one’s nature, ambition, capacity, and environment could influence whether they develop edge. This notwithstanding, a few aspects might contribute to the development of an edge in your career, regardless of context. Do you know what your organisation seeks to achieve, its challenges and opportunities? Do you join the dots between your personal contribution and the outcomes from the organisation’s point of view? Do you exemplify your organisation’s values as you interact with your stakeholders? Do you keep improving yourself personally and professionally? Looking back, how have you become a better person and professional in the past year? Do you inspire the confidence of others including your seniors? Do you support others in their quests to succeed? Do your results regularly exceed expectations in terms of quality and speed?
More importantly, are you self-aware? What makes you uniquely gifted as an individual? How do you bring your uniqueness to bear in your work and interactions? Edge could be in the degree to which you differentiate yourself from the rest in terms of the quality or quantum of your contribution. It could also be in a form that cannot be replicated by others; a set of beneficial attributes that that are quintessentially yours. The greater the edge, the more you will stand out from the crowd. Does this smell like fluff to you? If it does, give your line manager a high five.