Employers love engaged employees. Engaged employees invest their heads, hands and hearts in their jobs. Recent research has confirmed that engaged employees are likely to be better performers and organizational citizens – doing more than what is expected – than disengaged employees.
Earning a reputation as a top performer and organizational citizen is good for your personal brand.
The research suggests that if you want to increase your ability to engage at work, you need to be doing work that is meaningful to you. If you are doing work that you don’t find meaningful, you are likely to disengage, which will reflect in your performance and citizenship.
For work to be meaningful, you need to be able to exhibit behaviors consistent with things that you value. If you are asked to behave in ways at work that are inconsistent with your best self-image, the mismatch in values will likely cause you to be a disengaged employee. The disengagement will contribute to poor performance or citizenship, and that is bad for your brand.
For example, I highly value autonomy. I want to have the ability to make decisions and take action at work without someone always looking over my shoulder. I’ve tried hard to develop my skills and reputation to earn the privilege to act autonomously; accordingly, I refuse to work for micro-managers.
You want to perform well, and you want to be a good citizen at work; therefore, you need to find meaningful work. Be clear about the work behaviors you value, and make sure you find work where you can exhibit those behaviors.
If you your work is not meaningful to you, find someplace else to work.
Bret Simmons is an Associate Professor of Management in the College of Business at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR), where he teaches courses in organizational behavior, leadership, and personal branding to both undergraduate and MBA students. He has a Ph.D. in Business Administration from Oklahoma State University. Bret practices personal branding at his website Positive Organizational Behavior where he blogs about leadership, followership, and personal branding. His purpose is “to change your mind about the value of partnering with others to build healthy, responsible organizations where everyone can thrive.” You can also find Bret on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.