|Martha Austin is on a mission to restore passion and purpose to our federal government one individual at a time. She is a current federal employee with more than 23 years of service, a leadership instructor, a certified professional coach, and creator of the Conscious Leadership Blueprint ™. She is honored to serve government employees, and other dedicated professionals, posted domestically and overseas. For additional Conscious Leadership Tips and the strategies to implement them, plus a short quiz to see how you stack up as a Conscious Leader, enter your name and email address at www.consciousleadershipblueprint.com|
Throughout my years as a leadership development instructor inside my own organization, I’ve noticed the same questions coming up over and over. I thought I’d take a few minutes to address the top 5 here. Do they sound familiar to you?
Question 1: How do I motivate my employees when there are no “carrots” left?
The truth is…you don’t. You inspire them instead. And, being an inspiration starts with you, not with them. Take a good long look at yourself. Do you LOVE your job? Do you love it so much you’d do it for free? Are you excited about the people you get to spend time with while doing that job? If you cannot answer these questions with a resounding “YES” (“OK” is not sufficient here), then the first person you need to inspire is yourself. When you recognize that the happiness you experience at work is a direct indicator of the degree of alignment between your work and your highest and best talents or gifts, you will realize that you not only DESERVE to have a job that you love, you have a responsibility to.
Question 2: How can I influence the future of my organization from where I am?
The most important step to influencing your organization from where you are is to check your alignment. Each of us, whether by accident or design–depending on your belief system, is uniquely suited to do certain things. I call that specific collection of attributes, skills, desires, experiences, talents, and quirks (often referred to as flaws) your “gifts.” You are the only person in the world who can do those things like you do. Even if someone else had the same exact job, they would do it differently because their gifts are different from yours. When you are in a job that aligns with your highest gifts, you become powerful. You have the gifts needed for that job at that time. No one else has these gifts. People recognize your expertise. They feel your energy. And you have influence just by showing up. If you don’t have a job that aligns with your gifts, then your gifts don’t get given, and the rest of us lose out. The catch is this…you are the only one who can know what your gifts are. Furthermore, you are the only one who can know if the job you are doing is truly aligned. When you are a Body Badly Out Of Balance, (a BBOOB), others can tell. You can’t hide it. When you are only Slightly Out Of Balance (a SLOB) others may not know…but you will know…and you will NOT be able to make the difference you want to make.
Question 3: How do I get rid of a problem employee?
Again–and take a deep breath here, you don’t. And, if you are one of those people who came to government service because you want to make a difference in the world, you don’t want to. If you have an employee who seems to be causing problems in the office, odds are that employee is a Body Badly Out of Balance. If you throw this poor BBOOB out the door, they will still be a BBOOB and not able to give their highest and best gifts to the organization or to the world.
See, you aren’t the only one with gifts. We all have them. AND, we all got different ones. On top of that, each of us receives our gifts in different ways and at different times. Sometimes they show up when we don’t know it–sort of like the Tooth Fairy leaving money under your pillow. That BBOOB in your office could use some help looking under the pillow to find his own gifts and figure out what to do with them.
Let me be very clear. This does NOT mean that you should ignore dangerous or illegal behavior or a failure to meet mission objectives. It does mean that you can guide that employee to discover and align their own highest gifts in order to create balance. Whether this balance has the employee viewing their work differently or asking to be released from their commitment to find another position, you no longer have a BBOOB in your office. You have a talented individual who is perfectly prepared and positioned to give their gifts to the world…and thinks you are amazing.
I know I promised you the Top 5 Questions that I get from government supervisors. Yet as I started writing, I realized this article was getting rather long, and we all have work to do. Look for questions 4 and 5 next month. (Look for them on the first Monday of the month.) Until then, I’d love for you to post your comments and questions here so we can discuss them in a future article. For those who resonate with this message and are looking for tips on how to implement the concepts here, enter your name and email address at www.ConsciousLeadershipBlueprint.com