Mastery in the workplace

Employee Engagement is crucial for any leader of an organisation. Today I want to discuss the core factors which cultivate increased levels of engagement, productivity and results.

The 3 factors researchers identified as critical to ensuring a team of happy, fulfilled, self-motivated and top producing employee were Mastery, Autonomy & Purpose.

Today I want to explore the first of these 3 core factors: Mastery.

Mastery can be described and articulated in a number of different ways. However at its most basic form it is simply the natural desire we all share to improve and become better at something.

Very often, employees get caught up in ‘having’ to perform at work. And just as often, the environment that permeates in today’s workplace reinforces the culture of having (you must!) to do better.

On the surface this seems rational. After all, every business wants to improve, do better and leverage their staff to produce even better results.  Why not make it a directive that everyone ‘have to’? But as we dig deeper the research is showing this is not the optimal approach.

What is now starting to emerge is that a different approach, one focused on creating and cultivating a workplace culture where employees feel encouraged and free to improve and master rather than ‘having’ to improve. This leadership approach can yield desirable results. As you begin to think about this, it intuitively makes sense and the logic emerges as self-evident.

This is what I see as one my key roles as a leader at DFP – catalysing the creation and sustained momentum of a ‘mastery’ approach to work. If I as the CEO of the organisation focus on creating a mastery based approach the benefits ripple across all areas of the business.

People are capable of creating and doing amazing work. When they are in a work environment that is deliberately shaped to encourage mastery their passions are ignited and focused. Creativity is enhanced; internal motivation arises and compels them to work longer, harder and with greater efficiency.

Think of the hobby or favourite past time you enjoy. Why do you do it? It’s certainly not money that drives you; after all you don’t get paid for it. It’s the idea that working on something that is fun and improving at it is inspiring to you. The fulfilment comes from expanding your skills and mastering something that previously you were not able to do.

This same approach to a hobby can be translated into the workplace. Creating a workplace culture with a focus on employees being encouraged and supported to master their role can be rewarding. Not only does it offer greater fulfillment and satisfaction in the workplace but also greater productivity and profitability.

Imagine your workplace full of staff that were driven by the natural desire towards mastery, mastery that was focused around their job. In short, staff would be more willing to do more, to do it better and with less oversight and micro managing.

At DFP we are diligently working to bring a greater emphasis on mastery to our workplace. We are focusing on supporting and allowing our staff to cultivate and foster their desire to become masterful.

Research shows that all of us desire to become masterful of at least one thing in our lives. Why not do what you can to allow that desire to expand and unfold in your workplace?

Communication’s ever changing landscape

Communication has significantly altered. If we look back over the last 100 years we find several dominant mediums, including:

  • Letters (snail mail)
  • Telegrams
  • Telephone
  • Radio
  • TV
  • E-mail
  • Social Media

If we analyse this group, 2 key points become clearly show through:

1. Speed- The delivery of communication has exponentially increased. A letter once took a week to arrive. A Facebook post or Tweet is disseminated in just seconds. The implication is revolutionary. News is spread further and faster – far more so than we are normally used to.

2. Reach- The proliferation of Social Media has brought about a shift in communication that has at times challenged and stressed both government and business alike – decentralised networking.  Whereas communication has traditionally been direct, process driven, with Social Media the landscape has forever changed.

With the right conditions a piece of news can spread around the globe, reaching millions within a matter of minutes / hours at zero cost.

For business this has real world affects that reach deep into a business (beyond just marketing on Facebook). The impact of Social Media on business communication has impacted business at its foundation.

In generations past, the lines of communication were clear. Instructions were passed down a clear chain of command – The CEO – General Manager – State Manager – Branch manager etc.  This was successful and provided great benefit to the business, however times and technology have shifted. Businesses must also adapt or risk being left behind.

Younger team members have grown up in a society where it is normal to find information out from a decentralised method. Vertical chains of communication are essentially foreign to them.

Institutionalised businesses run the risk of being outpaced by new, more adept and agile businesses that move with the speed of social media.

It may be wise to consider how your business communicates; the processes and hierarchies of yesterday may not be equipped to handle the communication needs of tomorrow.