By Tom Davidson
In one of my grandfather’s poems, he wrote, “Make your work your hobby and ride cowboy ride!” It was his way of telling us kids to get a job we’d love so we would never have to work a day in our lives.
I’ve gotten to coach over a thousand new, middle and senior executives, and over that time, I’ve found that job fit really is the key to success! When you’re a good fit, you’ll not only be happier, you’ll do better work, learn faster, and get more done. When you’re not a good fit, you’ll be unhappy, less productive, negative, and often resentful. We all know people who feel trapped, stuck and negative. Don’t let that be you, and don’t let that happen on your team. You’ll be better off with some open positions on your team than by having them filled with negative, resentful people pulling everyone down.
There are for kinds of fit: fit with you job, fit with your manager, fit with your team, and fit with your organization.
Fit with your job has to do with your skills and interests. Are you doing what you’re good at and what you want to do? If not, you may be a bad fit for the role.
Fit with your manager has to do with connection, support and trust, or lack thereof. Most people don’t leave bad jobs, they leave bad managers.
Fit with your team has to do with culture, working relationships, and teamwork. If you shoulder more than your fair share of the work for far too long, if your team members throw you under the bus, or if the norms don’t jive with your values, then you’re likely feeling the stress of a bad team fit.
Fit with your organization has to do with mission, leadership and culture. If the purpose of your organization doesn’t align with your values, you might be a bad fit. If the leadership of your organization goes against your ethics, you might be a bad fit. If the culture of your organization, the patterns and norms of behavior, go against your work ethics, then you might be a bad fit here as well.
How’s your fit-ness level? If you have a good fit with all four, congratulations; you’re a happy camper. If you have a good fit with three of the four, I’d call you restless but coping. If you’re a bad fit with only two of the four, you better be looking if you want to have a decent work life. And if you’re a fit with only one or less, you’re likely to be miserable, no matter what your paycheck might be, and you’ll be on your way out or down at any moment if you don’t make a move.
Job fit is the key. It’s the nature of a happy career, and taking control of your situation is the nature of self-leadership.