By Philip Merry CSPGlobal
ASK YOURSELF THESE QUESTIONS
1. Does the job give me a sense of Meaning?
2. Am I be able to be my Authentic self?
3. Do I have a true sense Connection to others?
As they climb the corporate ladder I hear executives are increasingly asking:
"Is this all there is?"
It is lament I hear more and more often from middle and senior mangers who report frustration that having “arrived” they find there is something missing. In essence they are looking for meaning and purpose and a sense of spiritual growth. They want to bring their “whole” selves to work. We give little conscious thought to our spirituality when we make career choices to the detriment of both ourselves and our organisations. When was the last time you asked if a career move was “good for your soul?”. This is a vital question but we often ignore it because we are worried about what others think or think it would jeopardise your chances of being hired.
But things are changing and during the last decade there has been an “explosion“ of interest in spirituality at work.. Your spirit or your soul can be defined as the “inner, deepest part that is concerned with purpose, values, relations with others and the of feeling of making a difference by being one’s real self”. The research indicates that spirituality is increasingly one of the determinants of career behavior. Marjolein Lips-Wiersma in her research into the influence of spiritual “meaning-making’’ on career behavior with participants from diverse religious backgrounds, concluded that four purposes were significant:
1. developing and becoming oneself
2. unity with others
3. expressing oneself
4. serving others
Spirituality at work can be summarised as a need for:
M-eaning – work that gives a sense of purpose
A-uthenticity – being your “whole” self and bringing that “whole” self to work
C-onnection – expressing yourself in relation and unity with others
This framework can be used as a way to audit either current positions or potential career moves to ensure that these factors which are indicators of spirituality are present, thereby going some way to safeguarding against getting to the position of asking “what’s it all about?” With a MAC™ analysis one asks “will this move bring more meaning, authenticity and connection into my life?” Lets look at little deeper at each of the three concepts.
MEANING - can be defined as doing something that leaves you with a sense of purpose, that ensures a contribution to that is bigger than short term corporate objectives. Does your current job or the job you are considering give you a sense of satisfaction that your role makes a difference to others? Does the job really make you feel that are “making a meaningful contribution?”
Ways of Assessing Meaning at Work
1. Are the organisation’s products or services of benefit to society?
2. Are relationships and rewards with the organisation’s stakeholders (particularly its low cost overseas suppliers) equitable and fair?
3. Is there a positive climate in the workplace?
4. Does the organisation have policies and a culture that promote equality and respect between different cultures and faiths?
5. Does the organisation promote gender equality?
6. Does the organisation have a CSR policy which allows regular contribution to a “cause”.
AUTHENTICITY Some say that the whole purpose or our lives is a journey to become our natural selves. Authentic people know who they are or have a passion to “become themselves”.
Ways of Assessing Authenticity at Work
1. Are the skills required in the role a good fit with your natural skills?
2. Does the organisation encourage the identification of employee’s signature strengths – e.g. Belbin Team Roles, MBTI, DISC, Brain Dominance etc.?
3. Are there regular training and development programs that encourage employees to grow into their natural selves?
Questions to ask in the pursuit of finding the authentic self
1. What is it that I do which, even when I do it badly, I do it better than most people I know?
2. What is unique about me that do not come from my family or culture?
3. What do I really love to do?
CONNECTION It is possibly the easiest of the three M-A-C ® qualities to recognize. It requires a sense of caring and a focus on others rather than focus on self. Connection skills means a culture where people are genuinely interested in what the other person has to say, a place which helps us be in touch with our feelings, and which in turn breeds happiness and well being.
Ways of Assessing Connection at Work
1. Is there is an open communicative atmosphere?
2. Do Colleagues help each other out?
3. Do you take opportunities to celebrate anniversaries, birthdays etc.?
4. Is conflict dealt with openly and seen as an opportunity for growth?
I have worked with thousands of people in my 40 years of consulting in 57 countries and I have noticed that “spirit” often gets left behind in our stressful modern work environment until it is too late. To ensure that this does not happen to you when looking at that new job as well as thinking about salary and perks make sure you do a MAC™ Spirituality audit. That way you will make sure you don't wake up in mid career with that “what’s it all about” feeling”.
Do career planning as if your soul mattered ! Your future self will thank you.