7 Things Drift Taught Me About Commitment
I’m reflecting on a young man who doesn’t care much for making commitments. I’ll call him Drift. He’s easygoing, generous, kind, carefree, and transparent. I like him.
Drift doesn’t demand much from life. He takes things as they come.
In his role, you might be surprised to know that Drift is committed, dedicated, flexible, helpful, and reliable. He doesn’t make commitments because it’s the right thing to do. He makes commitments for his reasons, not someone else’s.
Frankly, Drift makes a bigger contribution than many who fit more traditional patterns.
7 things Drift taught me about commitment:
#1. The leader of Drift’s team is dedicated, opinionated, transparent, directive, and compassionate. Overall, Drift’s team leader is a strong personality with lots of opinions. They don’t clash. They like each other. Relationships matter to Drift.
#2. Drift feels comfortable being respected and receiving direction.
#3. Don’t ask Drift to participate in collaborative decisions. He goes with the flow and likes it that way.
#4. Commitment isn’t difficult for Drift. He only commits to things he enjoys. When Drift is thanked for his contribution, he always says the same thing. “I enjoy it.” Dedication isn’t difficult when you enjoy what you do.
#5. Drift is strong, not weak. He won’t be pressured into making commitments that aren’t appealing to him. He won’t make commitments that might help him “get ahead”. Enjoyment is more important than getting ahead in Drift’s world.
#6. Drift enjoys commitments that fall within his competence. He doesn’t want to stretch into new areas. He wants to do things that he enjoys and does well.
#7. Frustration and disappointment await any leader who aspires more for Drift than he aspires for himself.
What observations about commitment do you think are most useful for working with Drift?
What can leaders do to create environments where people make commitments?
Not all managers are actual leaders. A leader should treat everyone in the team as a professional and not being to made to feel worthless and totally ignorant.
Thanks Amin. I think it’s too easy to impose our personal aspirations on others. When we judge others by our own aspirations they feel devalued and disrespected. In addition, leaders limit themselves when they take a cookie-cutter approach to people.
Sometimes I see myself as ‘drift’ and it can be frustrating for me as well. Not sure how to correct or improve. Suggestions?
Thanks Bob. If you’re concerned about drift, you probably aren’t like the person I’m writing about. He’s not concerned about it. You might try connecting with people who challenge you. Best wishes.
I don’t always read the comments on your posts but I scrolled down with anticipation on this one as I thought your thoughts were fascinating and expected to see a long string of thoughts that would be diverse with some solid arguments for their opinions. Wow. Was I wrong. Is that because we are all stumped when we have employees/colleagues like Drift? 🙂
Drift’s clarity is refreshing. I respect it very much. My guess is that he is 25 years old. Point #7. “Frustration and disappointment await any leader who aspires more for Drift than he aspires for himself.” is huge. How many times have our aspirations exceeded those of someone else and we become so frustrated about it and then we can’t figure out why…………..
Being a leader with contributive commitments that are consistently kept is perhaps the strongest action a leader of Drift might embody.Making meaningful and contributive commitments is the sure path to building stature among others.
Add to that leader a commitment to converse with Drift about their individual and shared aspirations will give Drift the chance to grow their relationship by adopting the leader’s aspirations as Drift’s own, if they are parallel in purpose with Drift’s.
These are two key factors for an environment conducive to achieving the business pursuits and fulfilling what Drift values most.
Nice to see “Drifts” style. Unfortunately depending on one’s environment we don’t have these choices! Things are rammed at us with a take it or leave it atmosphere, case in point ” Presidential election” this year!
Now with the point “Drift” item #6, if one does not venture out of the nest, you will never achieve your peak performance! Learn all you can and share your Leader quality to build others. I see ” Drift” behind a wall of comfort, yet holding back.
1) Drift appears to commit and engage when he enjoys what he does, and is doing what he does well
2) Leaders can get to know their team members’ passions, competencies and aspirations and tap into them- Stretching beyond ones comfort zone is not for everyone, nor is it necessarily essential for everyone- but commitment and engagement are- # 7 is an important caution for leaders! Thx!
Well said! I was fortunate to work with a “Drift” and she taught me much. When it was decided by those outside of “Drift’s” direct management that she would be forced to change, “Drift” left and took her years of knowledge and skills with her leaving a huge deficit that was never really filled. It was a shame because “Drift” stayed in the department for years, was the “go to” person, and liked what she did. And, she willingly shared and helped others. She was really part of the foundation of the firm. “Drift” leaving caused a lot of damage to the firm’s underpinnings. Let’s hear it for the “Drifts” in the work world and be more tolerant and respectful of these valuable workers.
Here, here Cynthia
There is Drift in every single person on the team, including ourselves. Letting everyone committ for their own reasons and letting them contributing what they really want to contribute is the essence of managing and building a sustainable high-performance team
Many organisations consider people like Drift are a nuisance, not a blessing. Drift would appear to be a thorough, careful individual who understands and accepts his own limitations. In a business world where “good” staff are expected to be willing to be tested to destruction, he’s seen as not sufficiently committed.
Drift and his like are common in science-based organisations, and manager-leaders who are parachuted in from outside find them incomprehensible.
Might a manager’s difficulty with drift reflect his/her difficulty letting go of control – if drift is deeply committed when he enjoys what he does and does what he is good at- woukdnt it be in a manger’s interest to leverage that? In the right conditions, drift can be a great employee- what is in the way of the manager providing those conditions within which drift can thrive, and the organization can benefit from all he has to offer?
Because most organisations work on the principle that there’s one “right” way to do things, and that you don’t get to cherry pick what you do because you enjoy it – that you have to do all the other bits of the job that you loathe, too.
I have more experience parenting a “Drift” than managing them. I really liked the word “strong” in #5. I think most people would use the word “stubborn.” However, it is very true that you can either wear yourself out pushing or find the why that motivates them
Thank you for sharing these thoughts – at first I thought you were going to criticize Drift!
“What observations about commitment do you think are most useful for working with Drift?”
I’m intrigued to see that he apparently doesn’t take much responsibility for others’ emotional states. He seems to have a strong commitment to himself and to personal experience. I really admire that. It sounds like working with him would require honesty, fresh challenges, and remembering not to send him to meetings where people with big egos are being asked for favors (without discussions about goals beforehand, at least).
What can leaders do to create environments where people make commitments?
Perhaps they could look at the underlying interests of those involved and reframe opportunities in light of those interests? And not expect sacrificial commitments from others unless willing to also take on some of their own?