When you think about your average work week, what percentage of the time do you perform tasks and engage in conversations that energize you?
How do you manage your energy at work?
Your answers to these two questions can help determine if you are a serious player at work or a reluctant worker.
Serious players spend 60%-80% of their time at work doing tasks, projects and having conversations that bring energy. We define energy in this context as leaving a project or conversion with a sense of vitality, purpose, and even excitement.
The reality is, there isn’t much to consider when it comes to the 60%-80% of the time you do the things you enjoy. The more interesting question is how you approach the 20%-40% of the time spent on projects, tasks, and conversations that are not energizing.
In conversations over several years with self-identified Serious Players, Ray Rood, founder of The Genysys Group, identified several common traits that Serious Players all have.
Serious Players are Realistic
Serious Players know that 100% enjoyment of a job is unrealistic. It’s not how life works, and they didn’t put that unrealistic pressure on themselves to think work (or anything in life) is an all-or-nothing proposition. This simple mindset means that Serious Players have realistic expectations and are more proactive in all elements of their work life.
What Serious Players Know
Serious Players manage their energy strategically so the parts of their day or week that require activities that are not as energizing they can tackle without difficulty. Some Serious Players find that means they do the tasks they don’t enjoy first thing in the day. Other Serious Players reported they approach their energy management in the opposite way. They do the positive energy tasks first and trust the positive feedback loop will carry them through the draining parts of their job. Serious Players are strategic about managing the surplus energy generated from spending time doing what they enjoy.
Serious Players bring positive energy to their environment. Positively energized people bring energy to the people around them. Enough Serious Players in a workplace can create energy that might help move others into their own state of serious play.
Serious Players are people committed to learning and personal growth. An unexpected commonality among self-identified Serious Players is they all viewed the 20%-40% of the time their role required them to do tasks that weren’t as energizing as opportunities for learning and growth. Serious Players often reflected that their best learning comes from engaging with conflict and ambiguity. Instead of looking at challenges as setbacks, Serious Players look at conflict and ambiguity as personalized opportunities to learn, grow, and increase their depth of knowledge and understanding.
The Art of Mismatch Reduction
Serious Players are not afraid to practice the art of mismatch reduction. A Serious Player takes action when they find themselves in roles that do not match their strengths and are not bringing them 60%-80% of job enjoyment. There are four main ways that serious players approach mismatch reduction.
One interesting and surprising way Serious Players approach mismatch reduction is through being creative and proactive when a role or responsibility isn’t working. This includes proposed job and responsibility shifts or switches within an organization. The Serious Player is committed to their growth and the growth of others. If they see someone excelling in something they are struggling with, maybe it’s time to be creative about structuring roles in the workplace in innovative ways to help everyone do what they do best.
The other three ways are a little more subtle but, over time, can be equally as powerful for mismatch reduction. The Serious Player asks, “What must I learn to improve my enjoyment and contribution in this role?” In other words, they view difficult situations as learning opportunities and look to expand their knowledge and skills.
Another common technique for mismatch reduction is stress reduction. Serious Players do this by asking several specific questions. Instead of asking how I can get out of this, They ask, “How can I manage this situation and my energy to make the parts I don’t enjoy more manageable?” Serious Players view themselves as empowered people with the capacity to make decisions, so they seek to manage their tasks and energy purposefully.
Suppose job changes, energy management, and stress reduction don’t work for Serious Players. In that case, they are willing to practice self-managed outplacement- they actively find a new role somewhere else that allows them to be serious players.
Serious Players add value to any workplace. To learn more about the history of Serious Play and all its unique elements, listen to this podcast where Genysys Founder Ray Rood shares the story.