Not long ago I had a conversation with a frustrated leader. He was having difficulty with employees not performing well because of struggles with assignments that fell outside of their strengths. He wondered how he could help his employees deal with their struggles and realign their efforts.
The simple answer would have been to tell them to learn to work within their strengths and let go of the tasks that fall outside of that base. However, I have discovered that in the real world this answer is not always an immediate possibility. There are always those tasks, responsibilities, and assignments that “come with the territory” and fall outside of our strengths.
Maybe these “outside assignments” were inherited from an old job description. Maybe they were handed to you after being on the job for a while. Maybe you gained the responsibility or task after downsizing of the organization. Whatever the origin, the reality is that you have this task, and even though it is outside of your strengths, passions, and desires, you have to complete it.
Most of us face this predicament at some point in our career. Even a Strengths Finder guru such as I am knows it to be true! So when the inevitable happens, what do you do? Good question, right?
Back to the frustrated leader … during our conversation I asked him how he had dealt with this issue in the past. Who could he think of who had done well in a similar setting? And he immediately thought of a great example.
This person was the best he had ever seen at taking a task, no matter how important or menial it appeared, getting it done, and moving on to accomplish great things as he continued to work out of his strengths. Sounded great so I asked my friend what he had learned from this person?
First he learned to minimize the tasks that drained him. He did this in several different ways: by delegating the task to others, by pulling people around him who could help with the task, by prioritizing the task–doing whatever he could to finish it and get it out of his way, or by getting rid of the task completely.
Second he learned to discipline himself to get the job done and move on. Remember there are those tasks that are outside of our strengths but absolutely must be done. This man’s motto was “just do it.” Sometimes, if we are not careful, we can let those unpleasant tasks pile up and become a serious logjam to our productivity. What is not important to you may be very important to others and could cause some real issues if you don’t get the job done. It probably won’t just go away so the best solution may be “Just do it!”
Third he learned if the task went undone, it could damage his integrity. If you accept the job, you accept all that goes along with it. In order to hold up your end of the deal, you need to do it to the best of your ability.
Not bad! Minimize outside tasks. Discipline yourself to get the job done. Guard your Integrity by doing good work. Pretty good steps to making it through those real work struggles that we all face from time to time.
What do you think?