What if work could feel more like play? It’s what we endeavor to do each week at #TChat. It’s what I fundamentally subscribe to: “Play for Performance,” where having fun means you’re doing it right and well. What if work could feel more like play? It can, it should, and “play” time starts right now with this week’s Top Trends in the World of Work!

1. POWER PLAY

In late February this year, Inc posted an article on qualities that make an employee remarkable. To date, it’s been shared 17k times on LinkedIn and generated 16k likes on Facebook. Pretty impressive right? I thought so, especially since I contributed in part to this data. Last week Inc really outdid itself with its post on 8 Signs That You Have an Extraordinary Boss. It’s one for the walls of the classroom, the bull-pen and Pinterest pin-boards alike with 13k LinkedIn shares and 27k Facebook likes in just 4 days and counting. Good, you’re listening. Let’s get to it. If you’re not leading the way, you’re not leading today. It’s about engaging with eccentricity in an ecosystem, serving for success, partnering for potential, and playing for performance as a community.

Extraordinary bosses… inspire people to see a better future and how they’ll be a part of it…see their company as a collection of individual hopes and dreams, all connected to a higher purpose.

Sit with this. Then do something about it.

The Trend: Extraordinary leads different. The #LeadExtraordinary movement starts today.

2. PLAY IT UP

The Terms “Adulescents” and “Choicists” have recently emerged to be synonymous with the term Gen Y. Perhaps because the 20s has become known as an era of personal search, where younger people take time off to “find themselves.” Does this still hold true? In a recent Forbes article, Meg Jay, a Ph.D. clinical Psychologist specializing in adult development, tells us why this laissez-faire approach to life in the 20s doesn’t fly:

These 20-somethings think they are keeping their options open, but they are actually closing doors.

Sounds like taking the decade off may actually lead to finding yourself having a lot more time while you look for employment. If you’re employing Gen “Whys” in your organization and are nodding, motivated by an “I knew it” or aha moment, you’re not off the hook. Says Dan Schwabel of Millenial Branding in this article:

Gen Yers would rather work for smaller companies, and they want flexibility and to do work that has an impact.

Employers, you are still responsible for fostering the next generation of fearless leaders. For organizations and individuals, the moral of this story is to play it smart and fertilize your freedom by choosing to use it for good rather than ego. If you’re waiting for an open door, this is it.

The Trend: The 20s really matter in the World of Work, big time.

3. PRESS PLAY

My most recent ultimate light-bulb moment was when I realized that I am the “aha” — yes, me. Well not me, per se, but the self — you. You are the big idea, and recently Harvard Business Review gave voice to this notion with an article on making your job more meaningful:

…people with callings are different. They see their work as a positive end in itself. They feel good about what they’re doing. They give more to their work. They get more from it.

Jobs are tasks you complete that leave you thirsting for more, the next best thing, and the next big idea. When you discover your calling, your search becomes focused on new ways of igniting your strengths and of being more of who you already are. You shift from careerist to creator of your best life. People with callings have a different way of being in the workplace. They cultivate career craftsmanship. They sculpt their success by producing nothing short of excellence. They serve, and not just in the workplace, but in places where leadership is in greater abundance than money. People with callings are rooted in their values, purpose and lead with a truth that is more powerful than the penny:

Identifying your own outlook toward work can help you define what you need — or want — in your professional life.

I want to empower authentic leadership in business, the workplace and beyond. Maybe that’s my calling. What’s yours?

The Trend: Find YOUR double meaning – experiencing real success means finding fulfillment beyond the dollar sign. Consider this your wake-up call.

4. PLAY IT SAFE

So you’re an introvert. You’re the person who would rather be at home reading a book than the last leaving the company party. You see more than you speak. Your way of leading is by listening, but you may not get noticed for this critical contribution. You show up when it matters, and it matters that you show up — a lot. The notion of introverted leaders is a trend, and it’s gaining visibility. Recently, I was drawn to an article on Networking for Introverts where Lisa Petrilli adds to the discourse on the idea of quiet leadership. Perhaps the emergence of this subject matter is fueled by the rise of the era of the entrepreneur, a term generally associated with extroversion and networking. So you’re an introvert and an entrepreneur, and you have to network. Now what? You can take up space with your presence instead of your voice. Chances are you’re a great listener, so show up and take note of what others may be too social to see. Plan your engagements instead of doing the impromptu thing. This will help you stay grounded in what you know you can influence with your quiet power of perspective. Better safe than sorry, so if you’re more effective one-on-one, then find a favorite place to meet for coffee or a drink. There’s a gold nugget in here for extroverted leaders, too: there may be a high potential waiting in the wings. Whether you’re an I or an E, listen out loud.

The Trend: You have to work it, to make it work. Embrace your innerpreneur and say hello to success by using your strengths.

5. PLAY FOR KEEPS

Welcome to “Talent Ed.” Today’s lesson is on developing high-potentials – advanced. And it’s a wake-up call of sorts, one that is resonating with leaders in this article on The Paradox of High Potentials:

To retain high-potential employees, the conventional wisdom is deceptively simple: Identify, develop, and nurture them.

The challenge is connecting the dots between talk and true talent incubation. The article suggests that the source of the struggle organizations face with high-potentials is discomfort. In a world that’s focused on pluralism and diversity, how do you single someone out without guilt? We’ve all experienced this – creating focus without favoritism. The other discomfort is around the complexity of dialogue:

… senior executives need to focus not just on the high-potential programs, but the underlying anxieties of managers who have to execute them.

It takes a village to propel high-potential talent – a community of leaders who can intervene with precision to stretch, challenge and coach their talent to the top.

The Trend: Leaders are servants of high potential. High is only mighty when it’s managed effectively.

 

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