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COACHING LIFE: The outside job

Cheryl Gittens

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There comes a time in everyone’s life when the fire within them dies. Then by some divine order they encounter a person or an event that lights the fire again.  They are now inspired and energized to go after their voice and their passion, but who will help them?
The cemetery of course is filled with many souls who died with their fire within. As we are reminded of this, especially at the funerals of loved ones, we sense a strong call to action to do something differently or more with our lives but then we arise the following morning and slip back into the humdrum of life, allowing it to out our fire.
Still, the burning sensation returns periodically and it is a mix of sweet and frustrating. You find yourself at your desk feeling hemmed in by your job.
It is not that you want to leave your job. You actually love your job, the people and the environment. You are comfortable and make a good living and the routine works for you. You just wish you could feel more passion for it. You just wish you could bring more of yourself to your job. You feel that your boss cannot see the whole person or hear the real voice.
This is the chronic state of many employees. There you are with all this talent that your manager does not recognize and worse, you have no power or authority to leverage it. This is similar to the biblical story of the talents. You fear you will lose them if you don’t use them.
Hence this is a case for an outside job.
Famous motivational speaker Les Brown speaks of his teacher who, among many other kernels of wisdom, shared with him that sometimes you have to allow other people to believe in you until you can believe in yourself.  
Les Brown always wanted to be a speaker, but he was labelled educably mentally retarded. How was he going to get away from that label and realize his dream to be a speaker?
He needed an outside job. Mr Leroy Washington recognized the speaker in him and sought to inspire Les to believe it was possible to achieve. He provided the school hall on some evenings after school so that Les could practise his “fantasy”, which later became a reality.
Sometimes this is the support that your employees are looking for. This type of awareness, alertness and heightened perception come from leadership. Leadership is about influence. You can only elicit the hidden talents of your employees if you are capable of influencing them to see more in themselves.
But not all managers have the competencies to perform this outside job and so too many employees normalize at humdrum and compliance, and managers complain that they are lazy and unsupportive of organizational goals.
Managers must first release the notion of managing people like they manage things and step courageously into the position of leadership where, if done well, can redound to enormous returns.
    So how does the manager accomplish the outside job?  
    You first need to alter your perception of your people and the value they bring to the table. Your employees have limitless talents which can be used to enhance their jobs and the workspace environments.
    Many will be happy to deploy these hidden talents if you only spotted, valued and supported them.
    Then you must challenge your employees to recognize that they can be and do more.     You’re giving them the resources to use their talents at work to achieve their personal, professional and work goals. So if you think that one of your employees has a talent and a passion for delivering, give him/her an opportunity to use that talent in their job and give them the tools to make it possible.
Lastly, you need to do this for every employee in your organization, because influencing a few to bring their fire to work will catch on. You will be seen as an influential leader who cares about the whole person.
If you pick and choose who gets to burn their flames you will soon find that you lose trust, respect and followership. The goal is to be good at your outside job and you can only do that if everyone in your organization feels that you have taken an interest in helping them to keep their spark alive.
Life is good.