I am fascinated by how people answer the question, “What do you do?” Think about it.
I bet your job immediately came to mind. That’s true for almost everyone I meet. As if a position on an organizational chart is the primary defining characteristic about you.
But you are so much more than a position on an organizational chart.
Even if you spend a lot of time with/at/for work. Getting a job. Learning the job. Keeping the job. Building a business. Planning for the business. Commuting to and from work. Taking work home.
You are still not your work.
And we- individual people as a whole- don’t do a very good job making the most of the mind-boggling amount of time given to work.
Turns out neither do most of the businesses in the US.
Work: Engaging or Soul Sucking
Only 30% of the US workforce is engaged with work*. If you work with passion and feel a profound connection to your company you are in this group.
- You drive innovation and move the organization forward.
- You get to unleash your inner geek!
- That’s superb for you as person and for the company.
On the other hand 52% of you are not engaged at work*- you’ve checked out and you’re clock-watching.
- It stinks to feel you are going through the motions with no room to grow.
- Feeling your best traits and skill are ignored at work is deflating.
More disconcerting 18% of you are actively disengaged*– you are so unhappy at work you take it out on everyone in the office.
- Being around colleagues so miserable at work they undermine progress, is soul sucking -for you the miserable- and everyone else.
- Plus that attitude and actions are infectious poisoning the other parts of your life.
What Makes Work Engaging
People who use their strengths every day are 6-times more likely to be engaged with work (Gallup 2013).
How GREAT would it feel to be able to use your best-of-self traits (the singular constellation of skills and strengths, experiences and quirks that make you who you are) every day at the place where you spend the majority of your waking hours?
Awesome. It is awesome.
Leaders and managers who create environments where their employees’ best-of-self traits are used 10 hours a week can practically eliminate active disengagement and can double the number workers who are engaged.
There’s Hope If You Want To Do Something About It
Ideally you (and everyone else) are in a workplace that is a honest-to-goodness, strengths based environment.
And there is hope even if you aren’t.
The trick is to expand your possibilities to use your best-of-self traits . . . regardless of circumstances.
The magic of the trick is expanding your possibilities even when your stretch is small. It’s the stretch that matters.
Over the next couple of weeks I will share stories of real people stretching how they use their best-of-self strengths (or helping their employees to) and what happens.
*State of the American Workplace, Gallup 2013. It’s bedtime reading for me, so you don’t have to read it!