If you are frequently bored, anxious or apathetic in your job, there is a high probability that your current job simply isn’t a good fit with your talents and skills. Success in your career is up to you. Finding a job that matches your interests, skills and talents is key to success and job satisfaction.
We all have unique experience and talents and it can often be challenging finding a job that fits our capabilities, potential and strengths.
A “right fit” job can look like different things to different people but here are the areas most people find important:
- Being engaged
- Feeling a sense of purpose
- Having some degree of challenge.
- Being recognized and appreciated by peers and supervisors for contributions.
- An opportunity for advancement or development.
- Being able to work with others we respect, like and/or can learn from.
- Fair compensation for contributions (yes, money matters).
- Enjoyment doing daily work tasks.
- The opportunity to use core talents and strengths.
There are others, of course, but the list goes a long way toward increasing the potential for workplace happiness.
Marcus Buckingham, author of “First, Break All the Rules”, “Now Discover Your Strengths” and “Go Put Your Strengths to Work,” has spent his career researching and linking high performance to an individual’s core talents or strengths. His Gallup survey of nearly 2 million employees launched his “strength-based” revolution. Buckingham defines a strength as not merely something you are good at but also something you find so satisfying that you look forward to doing it again and again. Those in jobs that allow ample opportunity to do what they do best are more satisfied and more productive.
Sadly, Buckingham’s research suggests that only 17 percent of the work force believe they use all of their strengths on the job. Part of the problem is they settle for jobs that aren’t the right fit.
Management is the other part of the problem. Too often managers don’t focus enough on identifying their workers’ strengths and providing opportunities for them to leverage these strengths in their jobs.
What can managers do? Buckingham recommends managers focus on the following areas:
- Establish a process to identify individual strengths. Ask the employee to identify their best day at work in the past three months (what were they doing and why did they enjoy it so much).
- Determine what triggers and best supports these strengths (e.g., time of the day, audience, reward, recognition, goals, specific tasks etc).
- Determine the employee’s preferred learning style. Buckingham identifies three primary styles: analyzing (these people need time and information); doing (trial and error) and watching (they like to study the complete picture).
The best leaders do not use a “one size fits all” approach with their people.
Workplace satisfaction is important to our personal well being — given that we spend about one-third of our lives at work. As a career coach, I encourage those seeking a new job to first identify their strengths and what workplace situations or experiences result in their being in “flow.” Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi identifies “flow” as a human “peak” experience of supercharged productivity, engagement and happiness. It happens when we bring our strengths and talents to bear on a challenging goal or task. Athletes often refer to this condition as being “in the zone.” If you have ever been doing something at work that you were so engaged that you lost track of time, you were probably in your “workplace zone.”
Frequently cited components resulting in achieving flow:
- Immediate feedback, response or reward.
- Highly challenging tasks met with high skills/talent/ strength.
- Fully focused concentration.
- Clear goals.
- Feeling of “being in control.”
- Loss of self-consciousness.
- Altered sense of time.
The greatest leaders bring out the best in others. They know their people’s strengths and support an environment that eliminates distractions and impediments to performance and job satisfaction.
Leaders who help their people find work “flow” and engagement can expect exceptional creativity, productivity and job satisfaction.
Invest in yourself by hiring me as your coach! I can help you learn, develop and grow your leadership and coaching abilities. I coach leaders all over the world via Skype. Call me: 360 682 5807 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org