One simple way to make a difference at work (or anywhere else)


A big piece of the Wild About Work puzzle is Energized Work, feeling energized by what you do for a living. As I talked about a few days ago on a post about energy management, feeling energized at work comes from both maximizing the energy gains and minimizing the energy drains.

One powerful source of energy in your work is feeling a sense of meaning.

There are numerous things that contribute to a sense of meaning. One of the most common is feeling like you’re making a difference.

Usually when people talk about making a difference at work, they’re referring to the outcome of the job itself – something like a teacher, or an environmental activist, or a doctor. But that’s not the only way to make an impact.

There are a bazillion ways to make a difference at work. This article on Psychology Today takes a look at one of them: strengths-spotting.

Strengths-spotting, as you may already have surmised, is simply noticing people’s strengths, and letting them know what you see.

Think about it. Imagine a co-worker came up to you out of the blue and said, “You know, I just want to let you know that I have been noticing how good you are at ________. That’s a real gift. I can see why you’re good at what you do.” And let’s say it’s an authentic, accurate reflection.

How would you feel? Think it might give your mood a bit of a positive bump? Think you might come away feeling a little more self-confident?

The article offers some ideas for getting better at strengths-spotting.

    • Practice observing people. At your next social event, emphasize listening and looking over speaking.
    • Put on “strengths goggles” by listening/looking for strengths in the people around you. It might be helpful to have this list of character strengths in front of you.
    • Label the positive in a precise way (e.g., “I see bravery in you”)
    • Offer an example or rationale for the strength you see (e.g., “I see fairness in you because you always seem to stick up for other people”).
    • Make your feedback to people genuine and honest.
    • Keep your feedback relevant to the situation you are in.

Try this: For the next week, just start paying attention to your co-workers and see what strengths you see. Practice developing a strengths-spotting mindset. If you feel so inclined, pick a co-worker to share your observations with. How does that seem to make them feel? Just as important how does it make you feel?

We each have an amazing amount of potential to make a difference, just by the way we show up day in and day out. Strengths-spotting is a simple, yet potentially profound, way to do that.

[Want to get Wild About Work? Take the first step with my FREE audio course.]


Brought to you by Curt Rosengren, Passion Catalyst TM

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