Over the past month, my blogs have spent a lot of time / research focusing on the subject of workplace assessments:
Why Workplace Assessments Fall Short...
How to Ensure Workplace Assessments DON'T Fall Short...
Workplace Assessments - Running With Scissors...
Assessment Summary - Picking Your Scissors...
So, it's only fitting that in this blog I provide a stark-reality check into why a lack of personal insight can lead to a negative existence. No surprise, during your ~8000 hour working-career journey - the median number of hours you will work before retirement age - you will find yourself underwhelmed by your professional condition. This "emptiness" happens at ALL levels in an organization. No one is immune.
In the workplace it shows up as disengagement. For this blog's purposes, it is defined by the action or process of withdrawing from involvement in a particular activity, situation, or group. Or, emotional detachment; objectivity.
Today, ~68% of employees are disengaged. Close to 20% are ACTIVELY disengaged - in other words, they wish harm on the company where they work. (Source: Gallup)
If you're involved in talent development, you know, have probably read the studies, and may have been a part of corporate initiatives to address this. For those not involved formally in talent development, you may very well have personal experience here and cringe at the thought of that period in your career.
How this impacts behavior...
Disengagement can result in numerous negative behaviors...I have included an infographic done by another group that identifies how this shows up.
What are the outcomes?
The negative outcomes can be numerous as well but at the core it boils down to how you show up and how your show up is often times measured in performance. Chances are if you or someone you know is stuck in this dark place, the performance is probably not-so-good, or worse, it sucks!
It's often been said that when someone has extreme emotions, there's a chance the issues can be addressed and the situation salvaged. It's when someone gets to a position of INDIFFERENCE that's a much harder place to work from since when someone is indifferent THEY DON'T care! That place is what disengagement looks like.
Here's how you can get yourself or influence those you know who may be in this dark place to get out of that rut:
You have to know yourself. What are your gifts? What are you good at? What's your "WHYering"? You should know if you've been reading my blogs, there is a simple process that can get you there! (SEE: Name! Claim! & Aim!)
- Name it! (Identify the gifts and put them to words (themes) that specifically resonate and are core to you.)
- Claim it! (Appreciate the power and opportunities your dominant themes give you and accept responsibility for developing them.)
- Aim it! (Intentionally invest in the development of your gifts by identifying specific actions to "flex" your gifts to accomplish goals, reach desired outcomes, and better respond to situations that happen every day.)
If you find that your gifts / talents are not being tapped on a consistent basis, you will, over time, disengage. If you're not sure what they are the great thing is you now have a healthy list of assessments you might consider to help you learn. (SEE: Assessment Summary - Picking Your Scissors...)
Based on the tool(s) you decide to use, the same three step process should apply. DON'T stop at the Name it! phase if your really want to connect with the possibilities. You need to forge on and work to Claim it! and Aim it!
Listen to Your Body...
While listening to a John Maxwell talk - HIGHLY recommended by the way - he made a comment that supports the previous point and perhaps gives a simple approach to discerning how to NAME IT! If I could be so bold, I'm going to enhance it slightly...listen to your body!
Keep a note pad and keep notes as to which activities drain you of energy and activities that "make you loose all sense of time" - in other words, you LOVE IT!
Guess what? The activities that drain your of your energy are probably a weakness. The activities that energize you and lose all sense of time / space could very well be a strength! Note how you feel, how others respond, and what the results are...if there are negative responses / outcomes, it could support the fact it is a weakness. On the positive side, if there are positive responses / outcomes, it could support the evidence it is a strength! Or, at a minimum, a gift you can enhance to become a strength!
Align your values!
Although this may seem like a stretch, it needn't be! Ideally, after you have completed the NAME and CLAIM phases, you'll want to AIM your gifts and talents in a direction where they are not only appreciated but acknowledged and celebrated! What this looks like is you'll "feel a fit" with those you associate, work, and co-exist. One of the subtle areas where this fit occurs will be you will share similar values.
Does that mean, you should not associate with those who do not share of 100% of your values? No necessarily. Our world is becoming more and more diverse. Values sometimes are nuanced. Yet, in that diversity you should seek common ground. If no common ground can be found, make sure it is for the short term. It is not sustainable.
Unfortunately, too often, people have a tendency to accept opportunities and the responsibilities without properly vetting them. Whether a job or something else, when you don't take time to assess whether those opportunities would best be aligned with your gifts / talents / values, you (or someone else) WILL be disappointed. That means speaking with others currently in the same or similar roles within the organization / team. It could also include reviewing feedback from third-party / outside sources to vet the opportunity (e.g. Glass Door).
Don't marry after the first date!
This is a follow up to the point above that's worth emphasis. IF you must rush into it, address the disconnects as soon as they appear and have a plan in your back pocket to move on as quickly as possible or you too will end up in that dark place.
Read the tea leaves!
Life happens! As such, things change! They evolve! As things evolve in your world, please be sure to be ensure your gifts are being utilized. If you see them becoming less important in your role, you'll need to take action to make sure they are aligned.
The key here is you need to be OPEN to feedback about how your performance is being impacted. It's unlikely, but there are times when you may not think anything is wrong and the PERCEPTION of others is contrary to what you perceive. In either case, you need to be open to the feedback.
If your efforts to align them fall short (which would have included having an open dialogue with your manager), you should, in fairness to YOU, YOUR FAMILY, YOUR CO-WORKERS, and YOUR CUSTOMERS, start to determine an evolution strategy!
That evolution could very well involve an assessment or two to give you insight and eventual clarity. (SEE: Assessment Summary - Picking Your Scissors...)
The bottom line, if you don't have an idea how that can happen, reach out to a resource who could help.
My best in your quest!
I believe each of us is a gift. I create trusted relationships where individuals, teams and leaders NAME, CLAIM and AIM their gifts to achieve optimum performance.
About Mark Myette
I believe each of us is a gift. I create trusted
Based out Roam - Buckhead - 3365 Piedmont Rd NE, Suite 1400 (2nd Floor), Atlanta, GA 30305
Can meet at other Roam locations if appropriate: Alpharetta; Dunwoody; or Galleria