Hard Work in the Workplace

April 26, 2012 by  Filed under: Management 

With most things in life, work is often required to reap the rewards. To bench press 300 pounds, we must start lifting weights that are a bit smaller than we hope to one day handle. To bike 80 miles, we must practice pedaling shorter increments. To excel in calculus, we must fumble through foreign formulas until they become familiar.

Anytime we want to do something well – there’s an open invitation on the table to practice. There should also be a warning: “You are about to venture out of your comfort zone. Are you sure you’re ready?”

When you want to get in shape, and you’re determined to do it at any cost, you welcome the pains and strains. You expect them. In fact, sometimes, these aches are our way of acknowledging that we’re doing things differently with our bodies. When you look in the mirror or get on the scale, it all becomes worth it. The physical cost and the physical benefit are fairly easy to assess at all times. When you’re not getting the results you want, you have the opportunity to change course to see if another way will work better. And when you decide it’s not worth it, you sadly realize that positive results are really unlikely to show up on the scene any time soon. You stop expecting the rewards or the disappointment because you’ve stopped – altogether.

So, why is it that when we decide we want to be a better manager or lead at a higher level, we don’t expect that the same hardship will be a part of the process? All too often, when individuals embark upon the journey of learning how to lead well, they stop dead in their tracks, surprised at the resistance they encounter. But, don’t we all know by now that going against the grain always requires more work? It builds strength. It establishes endurance. Neither is possible if effort isn’t part of the equation.

I think one of the best things someone can do if they start to dream of bigger and better things for him/herself – is to realistically assess the challenges that will come with the unfamiliar territory. By forming reasonable perspectives and expectations, you are less likely to get discouraged by the bumps in the road. If you anticipate the worst and prepare for the hardest, you can only be pleasantly surprised by the less-prominent potholes that get in the way. It’s not about maintaining a pessimistic perspective – no, no, no – it’s about being practically hopeful. On this note, this also means that if you think you’re an all-star leader, but you’ve never done a darn thing to work at it…I’d reassess your all-star status.

Don’t let that discourage you. Let it motivate you to become one of the elite. Good leaders aren’t a dime a dozen, and there’s a reason: the work isn’t always easy, and it’s only the nonpareils that persist and prevail.

Are you interested in becoming a better leader, but aren’t sure where to start? Start by downloading our complimentary assessment, which will help you to become more aware of where you’re currently at, so that you know what you need to do to get where you want to go. Check it out at http://wcwpartners.com/superstar-leadership-model-self-assessment-download/.

Looking for more of Doug’s insights on exceptional leaders? Check out more from Doug at his blog: http://wcwpartners.com/our-blog/.

Doug C. Watsabaugh, senior partner at WCW Partners, understands how to meet your unique performance challenges. With more than 20 years of experience, WCW Partners is a performance-improvement company that helps businesses revitalize their results and achieve record-breaking performance.

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