We all spend a lot of time at work, investing time in shipping high quality work that changes lives, and investing in making others better. In the course of doing all of these things, do you know how you work? Do you know if your work really is high quality, and more importantly are you really making yourself or others better? Some people are inherently very self-aware and others get consumed in work so much so that they turn off their sensors, others truly don’t have the faintest idea of their effect on others or when they’re ineffective.
Let us take a look at the work you’re doing, your role as part of that work, and how you are getting that work done. Try to step back, and ask yourself some questions about each of them, and honestly answer them.
Product– Are you actually making an impact? Do you know what your deliverables are and are you the right or best person to execute? Are you doing the work and heavy lifting or are you just faking it? We juggle different projects, our day job, and personal projects for ourselves or our families. Be aware of your level of work for each body of work and own it – even if you’ve committed to playing catch up or to taking on even more work. Being spread thin never feels good but if you are you can effectively communicate this based on your awareness or better yet delegate and choose which projects will receive more of your time.
Role – What is your role in a relationship, project, or agreement? Are you in someone’s space or perhaps you aren’t best suited for a certain area? Are you fulfilling your part and do you know what is expected of you? Knowing your role and the role of others is helpful and clearly delineates the components or scope of the project you’re working on. It also helps you see clearly when someone is failing in their part and where you might have to pick up the slack to get things done on time. Are you and the folks involved taking a principled and logical approach to the work or is it chaos?
The “How” – How do you get your work done? Is it original work, using and building on the work of others, or taking credit for others work? Style too plays into the ‘how.’ We have big collaborators, those who disappear into their offices and come back later with something great, or those who get lost in the details and can’t manage to take a first step. You determine the ‘how’ but know the impact of your ‘how’ and your style in delivering your work have downstream effects. How you handle yourself at work or while working on something is critical to the success or failure of your work. You can scope our your role and work as much as you want however if you don’t invest in ‘how you will do your work’ you won’t get very far.
Even if you’re very self-aware, it’s then a matter of how you use this information to interact with others. Will you be transparent or change the way you work even if you have true self-awareness? You control what you do with the information. Knowing the truth about your relationships, work, and how you get things done make you stronger and help you understand your long term prospects. Your reputation and level of self-awareness will follow you all of your professional life – better to put up your antennae to get a good idea of how you shine and how you get work done.