Back in college, my closest friends and I would joke around continuously. We’d laugh and we’d laugh. But sometimes, the joking would go just a little bit too far. We’d joke about someone in a way we wouldn’t do if they were there with us.
In those moments, I’d sit back and tell myself that if I weren’t the one overstepping the invisible boundary, well then, I was innocent. I was wrong about that.
You see, I could have stepped in. I could have voiced my opinion that “this is not okay!”
But I didn’t.
How often do you passively watch things occur that are inconsistent with your standard of ethics? Imagine just how easy it would be to step in.
Focus on orchestrating only ‘good things around you. Diligently intervene when you see otherwise.
Standing passively by is not the same as standing innocently by.
Imagine that your boss goes away for a few days. You’ve been working soooo hard, and now, finally, you’re free from the pressure of your employers.
You still come into work, of course. You still sit at the same desk. You still drink the same coffee and eat at the same time. But how have you changed?
Do you still bring the same energy, seize the same opportunities, work just as hard as before? Or do you find ways to cut corners and slack off because, you know, who’s gonna know?
Only you can truthfully answer these questions.
At the end of each day, you can convince yourself that you worked soooo hard, can convince yourself that you’ve contributed soooo much. And maybe you have. Only you know.
And the best indicator of who you are for real is who you are when no one is looking. Character is revealed when no one is watching.
Researchers are learning more all the time about the importance of feeling progress toward our workplace goals. It’s called the Progress Principle, and it’s fast becoming a big part of the conversation about employee engagement. In fact, the Harvard Business Reviews research shows it is the most important motivator.
Multiple studies have shown that a feeling of progress in our work is at or near the top in motivation—way ahead of traditional incentives like raises and bonuses.
But not everyone is paying attention. In a survey that asked managers to rank five employee motivators, the feeling of progress came in dead last.
Let your competition pour money into more expensive motivators. A feeling of progress costs little or nothing. Break large projects into smaller benchmarks, and celebrate each step as it’s achieved. It’s as simple as that.
It’s yet another opportunity for those who are paying attention to pull ahead of the pack.