The 2 Most Under-Appreciated Superpowers in Tech

Photo by  Daniel Tseng  on  Unsplash

You have superpowers. Yes, you do.

I know you doubt that because you didn’t get promoted last year, and you feel so anxious and afraid to speak up in meetings most of the time.

I know you think you’re a failure a lot because your ideas don’t get traction even when they’re great. And when they do, no one remembers that you were the one that came up with them.

I know you think you should have strong points of view that you stand up for with passion and conviction despite what others think. But you usually don't.

You wish you could push back, take charge, champion, triumph and be celebrated like the leaders you read about and look up to. But you feel so invisible that you don’t even think you deserve the job because of how little impact you seem to be making.

Well I see you. And I see what you do better than anyone else without even trying.

I see you scanning the room and playing the role most needed in the moment. I see you understanding multiple sides of a seemingly black and white conflict. I see you translating what’s being said into words more people can relate to. I see you saying Yes to a task no one else seems to want to do. And I see you holding back and being silent...because even though you were asked to be there, you actually weren’t needed.

It’s not your fault no one noticed how hard you were working. It’s not your fault you couldn’t see how much you made a difference. It’s not your fault you left that meeting feeling like shit.

Because you have one of the most under-appreciated superpowers in tech: Adaptability.

People who are adaptable aren’t noticed because that’s the point. They plug in gaps where water is rushing in so the boat doesn’t sink. They see the pieces that get dropped and quietly pick them up. They’re the broth that can make a million soups and the glue that can hold ill-fitting shapes together.

They don’t care about being on top, having all the perks, or getting applauded by huge audiences. So what do they care most about?

Relationships.

I see you. And I see what you do better than anyone else without trying.

I see that you notice when someone is uncomfortable or hurt. I see that you feel for them and instinctively want to help.

I see you knowing exactly how to make someone feel at ease around you. And how you make subtle adjustments to your body language and wordings, so that someone doesn’t feel attacked or judged.

I see you thoughtfully considering everyone’s feelings and balancing each person’s needs equally with your own.

And I see you forgoing your own needs for someone who seems to need more.

You know how to listen and make someone feel heard, so that they feel cared for and seen. In just one interaction, you know how to make someone feel like they matter. In just one conversation, you know how to get someone to trust you with their heart. Not because you tricked them, but because they truly can.

A superpower is something you do effortlessly that makes a huge impact.

And yours is this: Authentic Human Connection.

It’s the stuff of top-performing teams. A most loyal client’s trust. A customer’s delight. A company’s award-winning culture. A product’s off-book value. Hell, it’s the stuff best friendships are made of.

And ultimately, it’s your measure of happiness at the end of your life.

So to my quietly adaptable, authentically caring friend, you are very important. And you make a big impact at work, at home, and in your community.

Your boss might not see you, but I do. And I hope you do now, too.

Eddie Shieh, PCC, MFA