Or: How to Figure out if You are Really in the Right Job
Is your job ‘ok’, but it does not truly fulfill you?
Do you perform well, but you feel you are not fully utilizing your potential?
Of course there can be plenty of reasons: a less than stellar boss who demotivates you, a work culture that restrains people, or simply a lack of the necessary skills on your end.
One frequently overlooked reason though is a mismatch between your core values and motivators, and the work you do day in and day out. In such a case your job won’t satisfy you, and at least in the long run you will get frustrated. Also, you may very well develop the skills needed for the job, and perform well, but you’ll never deliver up to your full potential.
Obviously, when you enjoy what you do and find meaning in your work, it is not just the paycheck that gets you out of bed in the morning. The alignment of your actions with your values will keep you going when times get tough, you will put in extra effort without a boss breathing down your neck, and you’ll perform up to the maximum of your abilities more often. What a win for you and your company!
So, if it was that simple, and if we all knew our values and looked for jobs in which these values are met, we would have a happy high-performing workforce all over the globe, and no boss or HR manager would have to worry about low employee engagement.
We all know the reality is different. Why?
First of all, of course it is not that simple. The reasons for low job satisfaction and performance are manifold and go beyond just matching action with one’s values. But values and motivators do matter a lot and are more often ignored than you might think.
Even senior executives I work with are often not fully aware of their values, and about the implications these values have in their working life. Creating self-awareness requires some “me time” which even smart executives often do not set aside, because they are so busy every day.
Besides this, people often have this nagging feeling that something is wrong or could be better, but they don’t know what and how to change. And as their life is “not too bad” they accept that this is just how it is, and they settle for mediocre levels of job satisfaction and performance — like everyone else does.
How to break through this and make your values work for you?
A first step to getting clarity about your own values and motivators is making an appointment with yourself and explore: what matters really in your life? What gets you out of bed in the morning and makes you do the things you do? What makes you judge things as good or bad, right or wrong? What energizes you and what drains your energy? In what kind of activities do you get so absorbed that you forget about time?
It may take a while and some rounds of iterations to get ultimate clarity, but my clients who go through this exercise end up with a solid list that is almost carved in stone for life and which clearly defines them as a person.
He who knows others is wise.
He who knows himself is enlightened.
This exercise can be very powerful, but it is just the first step. There is so much more to it.
Why might the “soul searching” exercise alone not suffice?
Obviously, as with any self-assessment, there is your own bias, and aspects of your personality you might just not be aware of. You can easily overlook these. Perhaps, unconsciously, you are also painting a picture of your ideal self rather than your real self.
Most importantly though, you might just not see important impacts of your values, such as: what working environments do you really fit in, and which ones drain your energy? What do your values impact your leadership style, and what are the implications fro your team? What unconscious bias might your values lead to?
So why not look into the comprehensive research that other experts have done for us already, and benefit from it for your own self-development?
For instance, a well accepted model in business and psychology is the Socio-Analytic Model of Values, Interests, and Motives. For an in-depth, easy to read description of this Model, I highly recommend Tomas Chamorro-Prezumic’s brilliant book “The Talent Delusion — Why data, not intuition is the key to unlocking human potential”.
In short, there are three Master Motives in this model:
Getting along — humans have always lived in groups
Getting ahead — every group or social unit (from army to church to comapnies) has always a hierarchy with an unequal distribution of power
Finding Meaning — people strive to find purpose in personal & professional life
Within the getting along motive, we have values such as hedonism, affiliation, altruism, and tradition. Values like recognition, power, and commerce belong to the getting ahead group. Security, aesthetics, and science are related to finding meaning or purpose. (see table below)
|Getting Along||Getting Ahead||Finding Meaning|
You can learn about the “inside of your personality” by assessing your score for each of these values with the Hogan Motives, Values, Preferences Inventory (MVPI). I recommend this professional assessment to my clients because apart from just the scores for each value, the Hogan MVPI report will give you a number of highly valuable insights for your work as a leader which your self-assessment is likely to miss:
What motivates you to succeed at work?
What type of job, position, and work environment do you best fit in?
What culture do you create as a leader?
and perhaps most importantly
What are your unconscious biases?
What aspects of your leadership style might you not be aware of?
and, putting it all together,
what are your personal development opportunities?
(here is a Hogan MVPI sample report if you want to explore this in more detail)
- If you are either not fully satisfied with your work or staying behind your full leadership potential (or both), the reason could be a mismatch between your core values/motivators and your job.
- Many people lack complete self-awareness about their core values, and how these impact their job satisfaction and performance.
- To get clarity about your values, set time aside for some soul-searching.
- For a more thorough investigation, to understand the implications of your values at work and how you can develop yourself for both increased job satisfaction and performance, take a professional assessment like the Hogan MVPI.
Would you like to develop yourself further, drive employee engagement, and get better results? Let’s talk! Contact me now for an individual consultation without any obligations:
phone: +66-2 107 2025