Participants In a recent workshop discussing thought leadership, were asked to identify one aspect of their job in which they excelled. One participant started her sentence with “I enjoy”. I found that very revealing but also very profound because, rather than looking at performance as a skill based endeavor, she made a very powerful connection with enjoyment being the catalyst to learning and gaining mastery in the area and that she was passionate about.
It brought into the equation of performance an element that sometimes we forget. And that is how critical enjoyment is for performance.
The second component of thought leadership that she considered a cornerstone to excellence, was her hunger for learning. It wasn’t only that she enjoyed the particular area she considered herself to be a thought leader – part of that enjoyment was the opportunity to continue growing and learning. The practice of her expertise was an avenue for continuous learning that fed into her enjoyment. Passionate about doing and passionate about learning.
She joined two elements that are often not discussed as critical to performance; that is the enjoyment that she had of doing, but also the opportunity that in doing, she had for learning and gaining mastery.
She had this real connection of performance being driven by her enjoyment and learning, rather than performance being assessed as evaluation of a task and the measurement of expected results.
Her statement rang loud and true: “I’m a thought leader because I perform above and beyond what is expected and I do so because I am enjoying what I do day by day and I am excited about coming to work as I have another opportunity to learn.”
Managers and leaders might want to consider that her pathway to being a thought leader might be appealing to many and have a significant impact on productivity and engagement. If they can facilitate an environment conducive to one’s enjoyment and provide continuous opportunities for experiential learning, they might witness a work environment where people want to be at their very best offering their full discretionary effort eager to enjoy and learn.