"If my people learn their strengths and do them, will I be stuck holding the bag of stuff people don’t want to have to do?"
I’m not sure when doing what you love and doing your job became mutually exclusive, but somewhere along the line leaders and managers learned a narrative that doing what you love on the job meant you would be leaving lots of stuff you don’t love undone, creating more work for other people.
For what it’s worth, some team members may have misinterpreted doing what they love as bailing on their job responsibilities to flit around only doing things they enjoy. I’d posit that they are the outliers.
In other instances, managers are simply nervous about the idea of everyone figuring out their life passion and quitting. I understand. And it’s a distinct possibility, but only if the concept isn’t taught correctly.
See, this not what doing what you love is about, and least in my experience.
“Doing what you love" is a cover phrase for being more intentional and deliberate about your work.
Instead of stumbling through the week accidentally tapping your talents, it’s getting clear about who you are and what you do best and when you do it best and then planning to replicate that more often.
It’s about being an owner of your work.
Talent is the foundation of satisfaction and energy in the workplace. It’s the great differentiator between average performers and high performers and, when combined with effort, focus, and grit, it’s mind-bogglingly effective.
When you ignore talent, you ignore what makes people unique. When you acknowledge it and create the environment for it to be recognized and applied, you open the door to better results, satisfaction, retention, and a whole host of other positive outcomes that create a powerful culture.
Do I love all aspects of running Proof Leadership? No.
But herein lies the secret — a small investment in my talent yields a ton of energy to do more of the stuff I don’t like doing but have to do to get to do what I do.
A clear example:
I met a guy at a training I did recently who has a gift for empathy. He loves to connect and relate. He’s never been trained in empathy, hasn’t read much about it, has never shadowed an empathy expert or learned specific skills around it. He’s basically used it raw.
In the workshop, he created a plan to intentionally develop that talent — read about it, study it, learn more skills, shadow people who do it well…magnify it.
- Will he be better at his job as a result of focusing on talent? That’s a resounding yes. He’s a teacher.
- Will it take him away from his work? Quite to the contrary, he will have daily practice in the classroom to get better at it.
- Will his energy and satisfaction and the meaning he derives from his work go up? Absolutely.
Investing in peoples' talents to help them do more of what they love where they already are is a win-win.