Work is a Purpose, Not a Place

Alex Pollock
January 14, 2016
I continue to follow with great interest the pioneering work of Gallup into the attributes of a "engaged" workforce. Their research in this area continues to show that "engaged" employees create dynamic, more productive and safer workplaces.

In his latest book, "Are You Fully Charged?" Tom Rath, a senior scientist with Gallup, reveals the keys that matter most for our daily well-being, as well as our engagement in our work. Here are some highlights that caught my attention that I'd like to get your reaction to:
  • Pursue meaning, not happiness, in all aspects of life. A key to creating meaning is giving of our time and talents to others.
  • Performance increase is tied to intrinsic, not extrinsic, motivation. These motivations are individualized and not universal. One size does not fit all. The buzz from money, power and fame is fleeting.
  • People who tie their identity around their income level rarely find satisfaction in their work.
  • Instead of longing to be someone else, we should aim to be more of who we are already.
  • Avoid the trap of mistaking activity for progress. If we feel the need to look, act and talk "busy" find a way to relieve this pressure and gain greater inner peace. The reality is that we're rarely as important as we think we are.
  • Spend 80% of the time on strengths during performance reviews, not the reverse. Focus on what's going well and avoid activating a persons conflict and defense mechanisms.
  • Give your undivided attention to what you're doing. Hide the smart phones. Even seeing one is bad for your concentration as well as that of others.
  • Looking forward to an event provides even more happiness than the event itself. Don't keep our plans to ourselves. Let's share as much detail as we can.
  • When we want to motivate people to do exceptional work give them an incentive that will reach beyond themselves and benefit others.
  • We think better when we move more. Walking increases energy levels by about 150%. Let's get up from our desks regularly. Take frequent breaks during long meetings.
  • Don't go to work tired. It is estimated that lack of sleep is costing the American economy $63 billion in lost productivity.
What your reaction to these findings? Anything you can add that better equips us to find deeper meaning in what we do?


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About the Author

Alex Pollock
Alex Pollock has been studying leadership effectiveness for more than 30 years. A former leader in environment, health and safety, and public affairs at The Dow Chemical Co., he learned that we all have leadership roles to play. He enjoys discussing new ideas and sharing practical ways we can all become better leaders.

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