I recently dug into the concept of assessing and increasing your team’s level of commitment and ownership, but what if the person whose commitment you want to adjust is your own? It’s a different process when you’re looking in the mirror, so to speak. In some ways, it’s more difficult, if only because it requires more honest self-analysis. However, it’s entirely possible to feel uncommitted to an idea, realize this, and change course.
First, make an assessment; take an inventory of your commitment as it is right now. Why is it dwindling or, in some cases, completely non-existent? These are important questions with answers that fall into several categories. Like in the last article, these categories are not exhaustive, but they function as a way to start conceptualizing limited commitment, getting to the bottom of it, and making positive change.
Determine where you fall: Do you lack commitment because 1) your voice isn’t being heard, 2) you don’t understand how to contribute, or 3) you don’t like what commitment requires? It’s important to know where you’re coming from; this knowledge will inform a strategy to get you where you need to be.
If your lack of personal commitment stems from a sense that your voice isn’t valued or even audible over the buzz, there may be an issue related to inclusion. Chances are that if you feel unheard, you’re not alone, and when people feel like they don’t belong, they don’t feel confident enough to speak up, contribute, or connect. If necessary, bring this qualm forward. In some ways, the antidote is simple — speak up, speak often, and speak to be heard. Businesses will want to address this issue, seeing as companies with a highly inclusive culture have 2.3x more cash flow per employee. They’re also 120% more likely to hit financial goals.
If something has been done one way for so long, the team may forget that there are better options out there. It’s easy for a small group of people to become responsible for more than their fair share while others get by doing less, only because they don’t know how to contribute in a meaningful way. Make it known that you want things to change. To increase commitment and ownership, you need some skin in the game, and for that, you need to know how to contribute. Another action I might recommend is to consider your own strengths and lean into them.
This could mean more than one thing. For instance, your company’s version of commitment might lean into quantity over quality, and you might not want to commit to a company that romanticizes non-stop work (for good reason). Maybe they have a work schedule you don’t like, require more travel than you’d like, or are asking you to lead a team when you want to do your own thing. If you fall under any of these categories, reflect on whether you’re in the right place. The answer might still be yes, but consider your own values and priorities and whether you are happy with your version of work-life balance.
Historically, at least since the days of Aristotle, happiness was thought to be made of two things — hedonia (pleasure) and eudaimonia (a life well-lived). These days, modern researchers usually refer to pleasure as “meaning,” but positive psychologists like Martin Seligman have added a third component — engagement related to commitment. It’s worth assessing your own level of commitment to work — as well as other areas in your life! — and increase it as you see fit.