Busy and Afraid, or Busy and Motivated?

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Busy and Afraid, or Busy and Motivated?

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Every workplace is unique. The people, the work, and the culture, all workplaces have these, but each one is different. Look around your workplace, are people busy and afraid or are they busy and motivated?

Dedicated business team having a discussion

Peer-to-peer asking for help or assistance is often met with, “I’m too busy.” Some workplace cultures quietly promote hiding out, hanging out, and just plain blending in. It’s certainly not everywhere, but it always seems to exist somewhere.

When you are too busy to get involved you might feel safe. You can’t possibly get in trouble. You know your work, so failure is unlikely. You can’t go wrong because you’re working, you’re not goofing off and you’re risking nothing so certainly this must be good. It’s easy and you get a paycheck. Hang around long enough and you might get a promotion.

On the other hand, you might be too busy but you are very motivated. Sure you have a job description and it mostly aligns with the work that you do, but you’re always interested in more.

Busy and motivated also likely means you’ve helped shape your job description and what you do the most is deliver great value. You understand that risk is required, that obstacles are opportunities, and that getting involved and making a difference fuels your energy and passion. You don’t hide out. You squeeze out—a lot of valuable work.

Are you busy and hiding, or busy, motivated and looking for more?

Here are a few traits that might help you discover ways to bring more value to your work.

  • Problem Solver. Being a problem solver makes sense. Sometimes people dread another telephone call, another email, or answering questions for the second or third time. Sure there might be some disadvantages connected with those scenarios but imagine if your telephone never rang, no one sent you email, and no one valued or respected you enough to seek your opinion. Be available, be the solution.
  • Explorer. Sure some opportunities may come to those who wait, but the faster movers aren’t waiting, they’re creating. They are open to doing more, delivering more, and having just enough thirst for risk that they make intelligent, appropriate, and reasonable decisions to bring more value. Don’t hide in the background. Don’t blend in. Explore.
  • Leader. Great leaders are needed everywhere and at all organizational levels. Choose who you will role model and be a role model for others. Organizations always need both leaders and followers and most leaders do some of both. Leaders don’t always shout from the front, sometimes they also push from the back. Get involved and stay involved, that’s leadership.

Busy and afraid might feel like a smart choice until you realize that you’ve been left behind.

If you aren’t moving you’re not safe, you’re stuck.

Solve problems, explore, and lead.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+

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