Reality TV is full of shows like “America’s Got Talent” and “So You Think You Can Dance.” We all have talents, but it’s often difficult to bring them to work in a profitable and fulfilling way. While many people feel underemployed, they don’t have to be bored at work.
Identify your Skills, Habits, and Beliefs
What are you good at? Make a list of at least ten skills. Setting that specific number will help you to reach up to the attic and bring down some forgotten talents.
What type of behaviours do you engage in that implement your skills? If you’re musical, do you attend a community jam session every weekend? What are your beliefs and values? Many times your skills and behaviours are tied into your moral identity. For example, if you attend a weekly jam session, that might indicate a strong belief in the value of community, friendship, and sharing.
Look For Areas of Work that Can Utilise Your Skills
Examine the range of what you do at work, and the general context of what goes on at the office. Are you an excellent writer with a penchant for reading autobiographies? Consider offering to compose a group email highlighting one employee every week. This is a fun, inspirational, and team-building endeavour that many employers would love to see in the workplace.
Meet with your manager or boss, and share your list of skills with them. Ask them if there are any areas of the company where you can utilise your skills, and they will appreciate your proactive enthusiasm. Coworkers might also have ideas about implementing your skills at work.
Think Outside the Box
Maybe some of your skills will not directly lead to a raise, but they might solidify your standing at the company, and open up doors you did not expect. Do you enjoy baking? Try bringing in some of your baked goods. A coworker may hire you for a birthday party and spread the word. Do you enjoy painting? Giving back to the community through some volunteering will look great on your resume, and improve the company image.
Continue Your Education
Whatever your talents are use them, don’t lose them. Talk to friends and mentors about ways to bring your skill sets into your professional development. Most people change jobs every few years, so next time you switch employers, you might find yourself in a new position utilising the things you’ve always loved to do.
If you feel your talents lie in management, then take a look at the following 5 tips on
5 Tips on How to Be a Great Boss
Ask around, and you’ll find that people who like their “boss” are unfortunately few and far between. That lack of rapport is really a shame, because the team that works under an effective boss can really produce great results.
Be a Leader, Not a Boss
“Boss” has a bad connotation of discipline, under-appreciation, and in extreme cases, wanton firing. A leader on the other hand, has positive connotations of inspiration, fairness, and trust. Your self-perception matters. Would you rather be a stern principal, sending employees to detention, or the captain of a ship sailing into battle, inspiring your crew to victory?
Leverage Positive Feedback
Get away from emphasising negative feedback, especially publicly, and consider tactful ways to deliver necessary reprimands. Instead, praise employees for their successes. Employees leave jobs because they feel underappreciated, while increased productivity has been linked to positive feedback, so leverage that positivity by attaching an “employee-fulfilling prophecy,” such as “you had great numbers last quarter, and I know you’re going to surpass that this quarter.”
This may seem pretty basic, but it really does go a long way. Employees may already feel like you control their livelihood, and everything else attached to that. You’d be surprised to learn that approaching them with a sour countenance can really get them worried, and set a bad tone to the day. Instead, smile and be happy. Consider bringing treats to the office once a week, like lunch or doughnuts. Another great side effect of this behaviour is that you’ll strangely start to feel great as well.
As a boss, you have a lot of things going on, and it’s easy to get distracted. Don’t lose track of conversations you’ve had with your employees, even about topics outside of work. They’ll be flattered you remembered their favourite food, or care about their family. Be fair, be honest, and avoid gossiping about other people. Take employee feedback seriously, and trust your employees. They will trust you in return, because trust is a two way street.
The workplace can seem like an eight hour (or more) daily grind for most people, which can quickly degenerate into a very un-inspirational routine, but you can provide inspiration in larger and smaller contexts. Allow employees to share in your business vision. Book volunteer days and encourage staff members to participate. Send out daily inspirational quotes. Above all, be passionate about what your company is doing, because enthusiasm is contagious.