We often think of work as the act we do from which we earn an income. But work is broader than this definition. Patrick Lencioni, in his book The Working Genius, shows how work, of some sort, applies to almost all our waking hours. Whether it is in the office, volunteering for a worthy cause, or planning a fun event for our family, “We are getting things done,” and that is work.
“People are entitled to joy in work.” – W. Edward Deming
We all know our time on earth is finite (stating the obvious! ☺️). And it is a common desire to make that limited time count through meaningful work. Henry Ford said, “There is joy in work.” Doing the kind of work that gives us joy enriches our lives and has a direct effect on our well-being. It is also great for employers because we show up as engaged employees and are more effective.
“When human beings are fully alive at work… they are much more likely to contribute to an organization’s health, and help it avoid the perils of dysfunction.” – Patrick Lencioni
Unlocking the joy of work can be a mystery and challenge for many of us. We might be doing work we are “good at” but still find ourselves feeling unfulfilled or burnt out. You see, “good at” is not always the same as “gifted at.” Sometimes, we focus so much on doing what we are good at, that we miss the opportunity to do what we are gifted at. So how do you figure out what kind of work gives you joy? The key lies in uncovering our natural gifts and developing those strengths.
Patrick Lencioni’s latest model, The Working Genius, help us do just that, identify our strengths, or Geniuses.
The model outlines the three stages of work and the type of work (i.e., the Genius) related to each stage. It also helps us understand the kind of work that me might be good at, but which we are not naturally gifted at, and hence might be draining our energy and joy.
No one is gifted in every type of work. Based on the extensive work by Lencioni and his team at The Table Group, most people have two Geniuses. Lencioni shows how all the Working Geniuses are need for a team to perform effectively.
“If even one of them is lacking, failure and frustration become much more likely.” – Patrick Lencioni.
Obviously, the reality of life means that we cannot only do work that gives us joy and avoid everything else. But the beauty of understanding our strengths or gifts means we can choose work that uses those gifts most of the time, which allows us to enjoy a higher sense of fulfilment and satisfaction from our work.
What we do with our time in life matters. And as we move through our days, the fulfillment we derive from the things we do can change. Often times, we get to a point when we start to question the significance of what we are doing… At this stage, we can find that a lot of what consumes our time is of no real worth. When this happens, we can feel void of purpose, and somewhat lost, adrift in life...
Do you feel the pull inside you to be a leader? Do you envision yourself empowering others to experience more joy in their work? Does the idea of seeing others blossom in their potential drive you? Being a leader is so much more than managing tasks or completing the performance reviews of team members.