Most workplaces, with a clear hierarchy, traditional structures and rules – train you to wait for things to be ‘done’ to you.
This is bad for two reasons: firstly, it’s reactive. You want to feel in control of your life, but this makes you feel like a puppet. Secondly, it stops you being the best you can be.
You’ll be more successful – and so will your manager and organisation – if you take control of some key areas of your working life.
Let’s find out how you can do this through employee voice.
When it comes to employee engagement, you know more about what keeps you engaged than anyone. So start speaking out.
If you sit around passively waiting for life to make you happy, it probably won’t happen. The same is true for being engaged at work.
If you’re lucky, your leaders will try hard to create an engaging environment, but they need to create something that works for everyone. And they don’t understand you as an individual.
That means they have a tough job ahead.
But you know what works for you. You know what keeps you happy and motivated. So shout about it.
And it shouldn’t just stop with your needs: why not have a chat with your team and let your manager know how you could all work better together?. Use every avenue for employee voice to help leaders better understand what you and your colleagues need.
Do you and your team want to know more about the organisation’s long-term plans? Would you like more social events? Do you feel like you never get enough one-on-one time?
Whatever you need, don’t be passive. Speak up.
And talking of one-on-one time…
Your manager will offer you catch-ups when they think you need them. You know what’s easier? Telling them when you need them…
Catch-ups are regular, informal chats between you and your manager. They can flex to whatever you need that day. A natter. A coaching session.
But your manager has to guess when you need them and guess what you want from each one. Wouldn’t it be easier if they just knew?
Take control of catch-ups. Be proactive in carving out the right amount of time to spend one-on-one.
This will change based on your personal life, what projects you’re working on, whether you’re trying to improve a skill, whether you’re experiencing obstacles you need your manager to clear and much more.
Tell your manager what you’d like. You’ll be surprised at how responsive they are to your needs when you clearly state them.
Elite sportspeople get constant, constructive feedback and this is how they become world-class. It’s time you took control of feedback.
Feedback is a tough cookie. Some people hate it, some like it. Some people just can’t give it without causing offence. Others just never get to the point.
And although we’re getting better as a society at delivering good feedback, we’re a long way from the world of elite sports where it’s just a given.
Feedback ultimately wins medals. How else can you become incredible at what you do?
Outside of elite sports, you’ll never get the feedback you want without asking for it. Ask people constantly and give them the details of what you actually want.
What do you want them to critique? Do you want them to highlight the bad points or the good points? Do you want ongoing feedback once a week or just a lot of information every month?
Most people won’t offer feedback freely. It’s a cultural thing. But they are very happy to give it when you ask.
And don’t forget that when you get the feedback, it’s meaningless by itself. You must pair it with action.
Wellbeing is a highly personal journey. The workplace offers you tools and techniques. It’s up to you to get the right ones – and use them.
It’s a pretty tall order for someone else to max out your spiritual wellbeing. Or your emotional wellbeing.
So much of our satisfaction comes from our approach to life that really, out of all the things on this list, wellbeing just may be the thing you should prioritise.
It all starts with your needs. Do you know your wellbeing profile? Are you a night owl? Do you need autonomy at work? Does it take a long time to replenish your energy levels? Do you need help to become more financially stable?
Once you know what you need, it’s time to do two things: stand up and be proud by taking advantage of flexible working opportunities, of health cash plans, of EAPs – and whatever else is on offer – to improve your wellbeing.
Then it’s about being vocal: maximise your employee voice and influence managers and leaders to improve how your organisation helps people improve their wellbeing.
After all, leaders struggle to see what the true employee experience is like: by providing the gift of feedback, they will be better enabled to take action to improve your wellbeing.
Thinking differently about your manager: how you can get into the ‘ownership’ mindset
We’ve listed individual areas you should start to own.
But all-in-all, it’s a mindset shift you need to make. It’s about taking control of your destiny at work.
Part of this is redefining your relationship with your manager. Rather than them telling you what to do and controlling your work journey, they should be a facilitator of your success. They should clear obstacles for you.
You should commit yourself to building a strong relationship with them so you can use the hierarchy of the workplace to become more productive and more satisfied.
And when you work closely with your manager to improve your own journey, you realise that being a more engaged, vocal follower improves your manager’s journey.
And in turn, both of you help your organisation improve its journey.
So everyone wins, really.
Take control of catch-ups today: read about how you can better use catch-ups at work to get the most out of them.