Are you clear about what it takes to be successful in your job? Have you figured out how those requirements match with what’s satisfying for you?
Few people take the time to sort out these fundamental questions. Some ignore the questions because they feel stuck. “I can’t change how things are here at work. So, why should I bother?” Others simply haven’t taken the time. “I’m just showing up and doing my best.”
A manager in a growing company, we’ll call him Fred, had high aspirations for his new marketing job. Unfortunately, Fred’s boss gave him little flexibility to do the job. The boss resisted Fred’s innovative ideas and exercised tight control over Fred and his team. Quickly, the situation became a battle of wills. “Why won’t my boss let me do my job,” Fred lamented. “How can I develop a better working relationship with him?”
Here are the coaching steps I offered Fred to improve the situation. Whether you are in a tough situation or simply want to tune up your success and satisfaction, take an hour this week to try these.
- Identify the key factors for success in your job.
What’s it going to take to gain great success in your job? Think of the working conditions and relationships necessary to soar.
For Fred’s role, these included active involvement in the strategic direction of the company. Where does the organization need to move and how will it get there? What are the critical initiatives, execution requirements, and requisite risk taking? How can Fred’s role and the marketing team contribute to that direction? What access and alignment with other top managers will Fred need in order to know what they want and to ensure that they understand marketing’s role? Finally, what are the important results that will make a big difference and open significant future opportunities for the firm?
This discussion moved the dynamic from a butting of heads between Fred and his boss. It focused more productively on what the business needed from Fred’s role and how Fred needed to participate in order to deliver it.
What important contributions does your business need from your job? What do you need to deliver this value? Develop your thoughts and phrase them in a way that your boss, board of directors, or whomever you report to can appreciate their importance for the business.
- Connect with your key factors for personal satisfaction.
Figuring out what your job requires is only half of the equation. The other half is what you need to enjoy doing the work.
Fred desired regular feedback and support from top management leaders. He also needed encouragement to innovate and push the envelope to achieve aggressive objectives. Finally, Fred sought evaluation based on results, not the process. He wanted flexibility to make a positive difference without micromanagement of his steps.
You’ll note that Fred’s conditions for personal satisfaction closely matched the requirements for success in the job. By laying them out in this structured way, Fred elevated the discussion with his boss from a battle for control to a discussion of what the firm needs and how he can serve those requirements and enjoy doing it.
What conditions do you need to optimize your success? Discuss them with the people to whom you report.
Each of us has an important task, indeed an obligation, to understand what our roles require for success and how we work most effectively. Start your dialogue this week.