Being a Gift in All You Do
Are you making an Impact? An odd question like this leads to more questions, such as:
Where am I making an impact now?
How am I making an impact?
Who notices that impact?
I sat down to ponder these same questions as I was reading Impact Players by Liz Wiseman. She offers an interesting look into the research behind how managers and leaders talk about the people in their organizations who are irreplaceable due to how they get things done above and beyond their own roles. We are not talking about the high-level subject matter experts. We are talking about the regular folks who show up to work and make things happen on top of their known job, without being asked, and without fanfare.
Through Liz’s writing, we get a glimpse into the lives of everyday employees who go above and beyond. She shares how their perspectives about work, how they look for opportunities, and how they apply themselves in all they do help them become gifts to their organizations.
For this book’s topic, employees were divided between those who get the job done (who can be extremely successful in what they do) and those who made magic happen, above and beyond simply doing what was expected. Wiseman refers to them both as contributors or impact players.
Who are Contributors?
Contributors are those who do their job, wait for direction, escalate issues, stick to what they know best, and often add to the burden of knowing the problem but not solving the issues without being asked, tasked, or forced.
Who are Impact players?
Impact players make a distinction between the job that they were hired to do and the job that needs doing the most. They step up, then step back to start a solution and let others pitch in. They then finish stronger by offering solutions to the problems they find, ask and adjust, and make work light.
This was a humbling read as I could identify the times in my life when I was an impact player and the times when I was a contributor. I sat with this for a long time. I realized that to be an impact player all the time I need to be intentional about creating the space to be an impact player; meaning when I say ‘yes’ to doing something I need to be careful to say enough ‘no’s’ that I can have the mental space and the time to be the impact player that may be needed.
What’s wrong with being a contributor?
Nothing. Get the job done employees are great. The problem is, in just getting the job done and not looking for more ways to help the organization, they may miss opportunities to be seen in a larger capacity. Impact players are opportunity-seeking employees who get the job done and then look for more ways to be an asset to their role, employer, or organization. The goal isn’t to hog all the glory.
The goal is to be a gift to your organization.
A gift to the organization isn’t someone who works themselves to exhaustion, martyrs themselves at the expense of their own life, or goes above and beyond for attention. They do it in service of their organization and in service to their coworkers, managers, and boss. It is the gift the impact player gives.
Where are you an impact player now?
This question may help you grab a moment of self-reflection to measure if you are being as effective as you want to be in all you do. Is it where you worship? Is it within the sport you love? The social cause that pulls at your heart? Or do you apply this concept at work already?
I now am building this concept into all my coaching services to challenge perspectives on leadership. I welcome emerging leaders to step into this concept too. To learn more, I’ve included this book in my book review section and urge you to grab a copy or listen to it on audio. Then reach out to share with me where you feel this could be more relevant to your own goals. I would love to hear your perspectives here.