The work world has shifted focus over the years from tasks primarily involving manual labor and manning machines to functions that are skills-based. However, according to Jay Forte, author and president of TGZ Group, the mindset of the manual laborer doesn't benefit today's skilled workers who would benefit from being aware of who they are and how they think. Forte asks, "How effective is this approach as the economy has shifted from industrial to intellectual, from a make things attitude to a provided service mindset?"
Forte believe that the answer to creating a stronger more effective workforce lies with self-awareness, specifically with the "ability to know our unique talents, strengths and passions." How can this impact the modern workplace?
Hiring the Right Candidate
In the modern workplace, an employee's greatest value lies in an ability to make good decisions — big and small — throughout the day that will benefit the company. Forte, "We pay our employees to think through their day," Forte explains. "We hire or realign employees into roles that match their core thinking and the quality of their work, effort, loyalty and engagement improves." However, if an employee has chosen a role because he is simply "good" at it, he might not be getting very much job satisfaction from it. Forte says, "We all feel better and do better when we feel capable, confident and competent. We perform better when we feel like we fit." Employees who are self-aware will choose the right roles and projects for their skill sets. "The result is a more intellectually-connected employee who feels both capable and competent in his or her role," Forte says.
How to Bring Self-Awareness to the Office
For management, the best way to create a more self-aware workforce is to encourage employees and offer resources to help them discover their strengths and passions. Forte provides examples of a few ways that managers can do this:
- Offer employees the chance to take a behavioral assessment: "These assessments could include a Talent and Performance Style Assessment, StrengthsFinder, DISC or Myers-Briggs, for example. Each of these provides the recipient with language around his greatest abilities," Forte says.
- Hire a career coach who specializes in self-awareness: "Self-discovery workshops are powerful because they combine value for both work and home. This creates greater employee buy-in," Forte says.
- Make information for self-awareness books and videos available: Forte recommends those by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Eckhart Tolle or Sylvia Boorstein.
Forte explains, "Though skill and experience are important in every job, employees’ behaviors, thinking and values are what guide their consistent and sustainable performance." By encouraging employees to discover their natural talents, strengths and skills, managers can help them take on roles and projects that will challenge them to grow as well as set them up for success.
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