Failure doesn’t mean you are a failure it just means you haven’t succeeded yet. Robert Schuller
It is possible to find meaning in your career, no matter what it is that you are doing. It is about connecting with the bigger purpose of your role and knowing and understanding your strengths and values. Take time to notice all of what you do. How do you utilise your strengths and values in your role and also in your activities out of work?
Character strengths are the qualities that come naturally to us. Each of us possess all of the 24 character strengths in different degrees which gives each of us a unique profile. When we are aware of our strengths we can ensure we are using these to improve our life and thrive at work. The VIA Character Strength Survey is a free, science based survey which will take approximately 15 minutes to complete.
Building meaningful careers
A technique called job crafting, coined by psychologists Amy Wrzesniewski and Jane E Dutton, can be helpful to focus you on what is meaningful for you in your current role. It is a process of commencing or stopping tasks to adjust your day to day role. It may include volunteering to take on tasks that are not in your role description but you are interested in performing.
Relational crafting is the process to create relationships at work and changing who you spend your time with. You may like to spend time with new team members assisting them to find their way around the new job or you may like to reach out to other team members to understand their roles.
Cognitive crafting is how you change the way you think about your role. Take time to consider what you are doing and how it is affecting others. Do you notice the impact you are making on your colleagues?
Harvard Business School, Professor Amy Edmondson, has shown that emotional safety is a critical factor in a workplace. When we feel emotionally safe at work we are working in an environment where we feel secure enough to share our thoughts and ideas freely. Feeling emotionally safe means employees are able to speak up and communicate openly without fear of negative reactions to their point of views.
Emotional safety goes hand in hand with a growth mindset and is demonstrated in a workplace through the value of cohesiveness and collaboration leading to employees feeling supported and valued.
So how can we foster a culture which creates emotional safety? First we all need to:
- Make it okay to make a mistake and own up to it. It is important not to think less of a colleague if they make a mistake.
- If you are a manager ensure you thank your staff for their work contributions to assist in them in feeling valued.
- Celebrate individualism – we are all different and those differences add value in the workplace.
- Take time to know your colleagues and be supportive of each other. Showing vulnerability with your team can assist in building trust.
- Take time to show compassion and caring. Check in on them especially when things just don’t quite seem right. Remember to take the time to ask, R U OK?
- Recognise when someone has done well. It might be that they have completed their project or graduated from a course. Recognising and celebrating good news and achievements helps to build trust and positive feelings amongst staff.
- Always look for ways to provide positive feedback. So often we become wrapped up in looking for problems or issues that we forget to acknowledge achievements. Offering positive feedback is a way to recognise the contributions of staff.
We all have a role to play in building emotional safety across all of our workplaces.