As a professional, you may feel that your current role is not quite what you had envisioned for yourself. You may have dreamed of something more exciting or challenging, but don’t know how to make it happen.
With work design, however, you can take control of your career and turn your current role into something closer to your dream job.
It can be difficult to find a way out when feeling stuck in an unsatisfying role. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the options available and unsure where to start.
It’s important at this stage not only to acknowledge these feelings but also recognize that there are ways out and that with some effort it is possible for anyone in any situation to create their own path towards success.
There are some requirements that set the conditions for any individual to be able to do this.
Firstly, you need the support of your direct report. You need open conversations about what your plans for career development and personal development is and this needs to align with a benefit to the organisation.
Thankfully many leaders are open to these conversations and the is embedded in annual review processes. BUT, often employees are unsure of exactly what they want and the opportunities that exist so individual ownership and clarity is essential. How do you get this?
Reflection exercises that you do continuously to check in with what it lighting your fire or dampening your coals. We’ll talk a bit about this later.
What is Work Design?
Interest in work design started during the Industrial Revolution. When we think back work was dominated by roles in factories, which led to questions about how to best organise work. Professor Sharon K Parker from Curtin University has been championing this work through The Centre for Transformative Work Design.
Because of this work design has traditionally been under the remit of those who oversee the work. However, Work Design can be done by all individuals.
When we focus on the individual changing up their conditions for work this is often comes under the sub banner of ‘Job Crafting’ as it relates to a specific role and job being filled.
Let’s face it. You can have 6 identical roles with 6 individuals delivering that role in their own unique way.
That is the fabulous intertwining of being human which ensures we all have a unique set of skills, experiences and strengths. No two people are alike and therefore, this is what makes work design so outstandingly powerful.
Work design is an approach used by professionals who want more control over their careers and work life.
The idea behind work design is simple: build a career around activities that bring joy, challenge, growth opportunities, financial stability—all while being able to maintain balance between personal life commitments and professional goals.
This means designing one’s work, inline with unique strengths and enjoyment. It requires taking ownership over one’s career development process so as not just accept but actively shape future opportunities accordingly rather than waiting passively for good things (or bad) come along eventually.
At The Centre for Transformative Work Design they call out examples of how we can change up our roles which include:
**Focusing efforts on tasks that are most interesting;
**Building new relationships with others at work;
**Reducing uninteresting or unnecessary tasks;
**Introducing better ways of doing things; and
**Obtaining more support from the supervisor.
How To Use Work Design To Turn Your Current Role Into Your Dream Job
The first step on the journey to work design is self-reflection: assessing both strengths and weaknesses honestly so as understand better which tasks need improvement in order achieve desired results faster without compromising quality standards too much either way (i.e., neither underperforming nor overextending oneself).
Once you’ve identified areas needing attention or what that big goal is that you’ve always wanted to achieve then goal setting becomes easier.
I look at many of the professionals I know. The leaders, the business owners, the teams.
The most confident are those who have clarity. Uncertainty is a confidence killer. It breeds contempt, cynicism, and satisfaction with the status quo.
Being clear around what we want also doesn’t mean we all want to strive to be CEO or even get promoted. It means getting clear on what drives us personally and therefore what will lead us to increasing our own satisfaction and fulfilment.
Workdays are too long to spend them frustrated. The working week spent in misery eventually bleeds over into our personal lives. It’s not sustainable.
It doesn’t matter what role you fill we all can make improvements on who we want to be along with what we want to be. In order to do so we need to create the space for reflection and our own clarity.
Grab my reflection worksheet to get started fast! 👇
What if I have clarity but no-one is listening?
This is the biggest dilemma for many people. I come across many individuals who feel stuck. If you have a direct manager who is unable to listen start thinking about another pathway. There are always multiple pathways to success so relying on one person to advocate isn’t enough.
The fact that someone isn’t listening to you also means there is a lack of psychological safety. This may be with just one leader or multiple. Recognise that your not alone. Often, others will be feeling the same way. How can you reach out to some change makers in your organisation to help with this?
As an Accredited Fearless Organisation Practitioner, I help teams become more aligned and working more purposefully through increasing the psychological safety. The results I have seen for individuals and their growth is outstanding not to mention the level of improvement in leadership practices.
If you’d like any advice on work design for you or your team or you’d like to chat about how to improve team alignment reach out! I’m only a text and a cuppa away.