What does it mean for an employee to do “their part ” when it comes to finding career fulfillment?
I read Marshall Goldsmith’s book, Triggers, and the conversation he had with his daughter, Dr. Kelly Goldsmith, Assistant Professor of Marketing at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, about active questions resonated with me. It affected me so much that Coach Goldsmith and I had a phone conversation about it over the summer.
The concept of ownership is at the very core of my career coaching practice. Meaning, I work with clients who no longer want to sit on the sidelines while work happens to them. Instead, they want to take responsibility for their own career development. They are done handing that control over to someone else while hoping for the best.
Coach Goldsmith and I share the frustration with employee engagement conversations that, until now, have been almost entirely one-sided. Consultants and thought leaders focused on helping companies build engaged workplaces continue to focus squarely on the employer side, and regularly preach about what employers should do to improve their employees’ desire to engage while at work. But there is an entire half of the conversation that is missing here. My purpose, as a coach, is to motivate and inspire employees to do their part to balance the scales. It is entirely possible to be truly engaged in your job without depending on your employer to get you there. Much of it depends upon your outlook.
So we come back to the question: What does it mean for an employee to do “their part ” when it comes to finding career fulfillment? That’s where active questions come in. Questions like Goldsmith shares in his book puts the onus on the employee. Questions like:
- Did I do my best to find meaning today?
- Did I do my best to be happy today?
- Did I do my best to build positive relationships today?
- Did I do my best to be fully engaged today?
Employees cannot sit with a victim mindset when asking themselves these questions. When I find that a client cannot shift out of victim mode, I know that coaching isn’t what they want; they want someone to hand them answers. People who are truly looking for career wellness, achieving the optimal state of work wellbeing at any given time, must decide to figure out how to use their strengths and skills in a meaningful way. To succeed on this journey, you must have goals but not a fixed expectation of the outcome. You must be open to experimenting. The employees who have this exploration mindset are the ones who will step up their level of engagement for your company while they’re sorting things out for themselves. They will hold themselves accountable – not rely on you for all of the answers.
To get there, they must be actively seeking. Actively questioning. Actively engaged for their own reasons.
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