“More than a third of companies are so dysfunctional, the best people don’t really care about what they’re doing and the worst people don’t know that they are doing a lousy job. Those are the findings of a new study by Leadership IQ, a twelve-year-old Washington, D.C. company that does employee engagement surveys and leadership training.” (Fortune Magazine, 4/2/2013)
Imagine that your best employees are not engaged in the work that they do, what is the impact that is having on your business? It could be that manager’s are not engaged in the process of ensuring that the people who are the most valuable are doing the kind of work that makes the biggest contribution. It could be that people aren’t creating and setting high expectations for themselves, that they don’t have a sufficiently strong set of goals to motivate their performance.
I’ve found that some people just don’t have daily goals that have enough meaning to get them out of bed in the morning and if they don’t have a great goal what is going to drive their performance. Work has become less and less rewarding as more and more companies have cut back on things that at some level motivate employees to put more of themselves into their work.
Work has become more demanding and more and more is expected of you. Knowledge and skill requirements are increasing and so is the tracking and recording of information, creating reports and doing work that feels non-essential which robs the positive feelings that work can provide. Work that feels non-essential is like having a ship at anchor attempting to sail, it just isn’t going to work well.
Employees own their success. That is they need to develop a set of clear goals that are in alignment with their strengths that provide a benefit to the organization. Goals that create a connection to the community in which they reside in at work and make a substantial contribution are necessary to generate intrinsic motivation.
If you are not engaged in your work, develop a success plan and deliver that to your manager. Let your manager know what it is that you want to do to make a contribution this year. What skills and resources do you need? What things can you accomplish that will help build community? What keeps you connected to the work you are doing? Develop a plan that has specific milestones along the way. Take charge of your growth. Take charge of your results.
“But I already have too much to do”. Is that what you were thinking? If there is too much to do in an eight hour day then what is it that you need to stop doing so that you can do more of what is in alignment with your strengths? It may be a question that you bring up to your manager. “I am doing to much of __________ and it isn’t adding value from my perspective (get some real data) to the organization and these activities if I did them would make a bigger contribution.” Find out what the benefits are to the organization for each thing you do, how does it benefit the organization. In some cases organizations do things just because they were done before and no one has stopped to figure out if that thing is of value.
The point is to take ownership of your work and your career. Within your job responsibilities find those things that you are attracted to and see if there is a way to increase that kind of work.
What can you do to take ownership of your work so that you’re involved and engaged in the work you do?