Four Ways to Succeed with the Stinky Part of Work
If you dislike 30% of your job, look for another job. You can dislike 20% of your job and still enjoy work. (Informal surveys of managers.)
If you like 80% of your job, be completely happy at work.
Four ways to succeed with the stinky part of work:
#1. Expand purpose.
Consider how doing something you don’t like connects to bigger purpose. You come to work when you want to stay home to put food on the table. The bigger purpose is providing for family.
#2. Explore personal growth.
Consider how doing work you don’t like expands your capacity to serve.
You probably don’t like conflict. How might conflict resolution skills prepare you for advancement?
#3. Embrace team spirit.
Do it for the team. How might you contribute to the success of the team? But don’t become a martyr.
Avoid being the person who always sacrifices for the welfare of others.
#4. Just get it done.
Don’t wallow in the stink. Check off the stinky work so you can focus on the work you love.
Four ways leaders create less stinky work environments:
- Don’t brag about working all the time. Our ability to do productive work is enhanced when we consistently recharge.
- Eliminate insignificant work. Set priorities. Tell people what matters.
- Show respect and appreciation. It’s not enough to know our work matters. We need to know that the boss knows our work matters.
- Give people control of how work gets done. When possible, allow people to choose the time and location of their work.
Bonus: Eliminate jerk-holes. One bad apple lowers team performance up to 40%.
Positive work environments are built by leaders who notice. What are you noticing? What do you need to notice to build an energizing work environment?
What suggestions do you have for succeeding with the stinky part of work?
I think #1 and #4 at the top are the key ones: count the money and get it done!
I wonder if part of the reason people struggle with this is that the 20%-odd that people don’t like doing isn’t always the same 20%. This makes the bit you actually don’t like hard to pin down and deal with, which in turn makes it more frustrating.
Setting priorities helps, but at the end of the day, some things are always boring: microscopic levels of checking, re-checking and re-re-checking just can’t be enlivened…
There is a story about a janitor at NASA who, when asked what his job was, replied he was helping to put a man on the moon. Others might view it as menial, but he understood how what he did fit into the big picture. Mopping the bathrooms was probably still not much fun, but at least it wasn’t overwhelming drudgery.