Dear Coach: I’m Tired of Having to Prove the Value of My Work

January 17, 2024   |   Julie Diamond

What’s the Problem?

Dear Coach,

I was hired into my company to lead our newly established digital business, and I have met what feels like a lot of resistance from the beginning. I’ve been at it for about 18 months, and I find myself very frustrated that people seem not to understand what it is all about and how important the work is to the future success of our company. 

I feel I constantly have to prove the value of my team’s work; it’s exhausting and irritating. This is compounded by high turnover in the company. Each week, it seems I need to start over again, explaining the work to old and new people alike.. 

Despite my best efforts to show the value and urgency of this new business, the feedback I get is that my presentation is too complicated, there’s too much data, and I need to be a better storyteller. This totally burns me up because, from my perspective, this feedback tells me people just want to be spoon-fed so they don’t have to make any effort.

I need your help! How do I get people to wake up and smell the coffee? 


Mad & Misunderstood


What Do We Think?

Dear “Mad & Misunderstood,”

It’s clear to us how frustrating this would be for you, so let’s unpack the situation. 

First, your question tells us that:

  • You would like—and expect— people to do something they’re not doing: be comfortable and open to change.
  • You’d rather not change your approach; instead, you prefer to have them change their ways, and there may be a lack of cultural alignment in that your business is a new trajectory in your organization, and the value of that work isn’t obvious to people.

So, exactly how is your problem a power problem? We think:

  • You’re not able to make an impact with this new important work you’re doing.
  • You’re being reactive and, therefore, not using your influence, communication skills, and intelligence productively.
  • You’re missing your high rank here; you’re not seeing your leadership in this area nor recognizing the impact of being a change agent.


What’s the Solution?

Because you’re still in a reactive and irritated state, we’d encourage you to reframe the situation before doing anything you might regret. 

Here are a few things to consider before you act: 

  • People are not resisting you because they’re lazy or stupid; they are resisting because they really don’t understand the business and how it will impact them. 
  • Because you’re angry and frustrated, your presentations probably force your point, which creates a vicious cycle. The more you use those presentations to drive a point, the less they actually get the point. 
  • Think about how your irritation might spill out in your verbal and nonverbal signals and how that can lead to even more resistance. 

Once you’ve considered how your mental state might be affecting your outcome, some good first steps might be:

  • Think of your peers as you do your team. Instead of simply getting mad at them, ask yourself, “How can I help them?” 
  • Remember that you are the expert in this business—you understand it deeply and have great passion for the work. For everyone else, it’s brand new, so you must step into the educator role to help them get on board with things they don’t understand.
  • Simplify your presentation so that the lowest-ranking employee could not only understand but also get excited about the work.

Best of luck!


Each month, we answer questions we often get from the leaders we work with and unpack how, at the end of the day, every problem is a power problem. If you have an issue you just can’t solve, get in touch! We’d love to answer your questions in an upcoming Dear Coach post. Find us at [email protected], or on LinkedInFacebook, or Twitter.