How do we increase our impact in our work environment? We all encounter problems in the workplace that everyone can see, but no one owns. These include a lack of leadership, never-ending obstacles, changing goals and increasing workload. They are universal, inescapable and present in organisations of all sizes, ages and types. But why do some people get stuck while others break through and make a major impact, when facing the same challenges?
According to Liz Wiseman, author of Impact Players, it is the radically different approach of people in how they deal with ambiguity and situations they cannot control. Called Impact Players, her research confirmed that they see everyday challenges through an opportunity lens while others are looking at the same challenges through a threat lens. Where others may spot a single bee but fear an entire swarm, the Impact Player is figuring out how to build a hive and harvest the honey.
|The five practices of Impact Players
The key differentiator between Impact Players and their colleagues is behaviour that flows from the belief that opportunity can be found amid ambiguity and challenge. Impact players are characterised by the following five behaviours:
1. Do the job that’s needed – When dealing with messy problems, they address the real needs by venturing beyond their assigned job. They aim to serve, empathise with stakeholders, look for unmet needs, and focus where they are most useful. While others do their job, Impact Players are doing the job that needs to be done.
2. Step up, then step back – When it’s unclear who is in charge, they step up and lead. Knowing when to lead creates a culture of courage, initiative, and agility in an organisation. In contrast, when roles are unclear, most players act as bystanders, assuming others will tell them what to do. While others wait for direction, Impact Players step up and lead.
3. Finish stronger – They tend to be completion freaks, finishing jobs with energy despite obstacles and without constant supervision. In contrast, typical players operate with an avoidance mindset. While others escalate problems up the management chain, Impact Players move things across the finish line and build strength along the way.
4. Ask and adjust – They adapt to change faster, as they regard new rules as opportunities for learning and growth. They raise the bar for everyone in the team. While others attempt to manage and minimise change, Impact Players are learning and adapting to change.
5. Make work light – They reinforce a culture of collaboration and are high-performing, low-maintenance players. In contrast, when workloads are at peak, typical players tend to seek help rather than offering to help. While others add to the load, the Impact Players make heavy demands feel lighter.
How can you increase your impact? Watch this space.
Yours in freelancing,
Whitemore Masudi Ngwira, Chairperson