Your Mind at Work – an Open or Shut Case?
“80% of employees around the world say they have to shut off their minds to get through work.’’
A staggering statistic quoted by Daniel Cable, professor of organisational behaviour at London Business School and shared with HBR when talking about his new book Alive at Work.
In a BBC series called In the Wrong Job, the BBC report that a string of studies “suggest that as many as 75 per cent of British workers feel they are in jobs which don’t suit them or which they simply hate.”
What is driving these stats? Are all jobs and workplaces unsuited to us or hateful, or are we making it this way ourselves?
Cable identifies the fact that we all have a ‘seeking’ system in our brains that motivates us for different experiences and growth, which in turn keeps us motivated. In his book he talks about the condition of ‘learned helplessness’ discovered by psychologist Martin Seligman; “where a human or animal learns it is helpless in a particular situation, accepts loss of control and gives up trying…employers are creating learned helplessness in their workforces by putting people in roles where they can’t use their seeking systems.”
So we are all looking outside of ourselves for motivation!!!
As humans we tend to look outside of ourselves for happiness and satisfaction…more money, better house, better job, i.e. I’ll be happy when…, and also blame circumstances or things outside of ourselves when we feel we are in a negative situation.
How many of us look internally to shift our perspective on the situation we are in?
Do we all need to stop making it about what is happening outside of us and take responsibility. Waiting for something or someone else to come along and change our situation is a recipe for unhappiness and disengagement.
Cable advises that “leaders must create a platform (for employees) to be curious”, to activate the seeking system of the brain.
Our view is: get leaders to encourage others to create their own platforms for curiosity.
Are you waiting too?
Here are some challenging questions for you to notice if you are shutting your mind:
- Are you thinking about yourself too much – is there a ‘what’s in it for me’ malaise hampering your business and personal growth?
- Are you as productive as you could be at work or do you work to a level that you think you can get away with?
- What are some of your habitual behaviours that may be keeping you stuck?
Activate yourself and ask yourself these questions:
- If I was truly engaged and active at work – what would be different?
- If I was being my most courageous self at work – where might it take me?
- How can I generate new ideas or ways of doing things that can be shared & implemented?
- What would I love to challenge or change in my workplace?