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Dreamer caught in an operational role?


I enjoy creating new ideas & initiatives. I am a big picture thinker and I dream of systemic things. The role that I am currently working on is largely operational. It's about keeping the lights on. It's about reliability over creativity. I sometimes feel suffocated doing the same things over and over again. It feels like a groundhog day. It's not that I hate my job. What can I do to feel alive again?
                                ~ Senior Leader, Banking

Sometimes, in the job context, our skillsets in terms of experience and who we are in terms of our interests may be mis-aligned. So we could be playing roles that we don't enjoy.

While no role can be 100% satisfactory, we can create the conditions to enjoy at least a part of it or choose to move to other roles.

One of the most common rants I hear in my coaching journey is of dreamers caught in operational roles. They often describe a "stifling" feeling of not being able to leverage their strengths and being boxed by the role.

Here are a few things to explore if you are a dreamer caught in an operational role.

  1. Job description(JD) is not a 'scripture' to live by


A Job description is just that - an indicative description about the role and responsibilities.

Ensure that it stays that in your head that way instead of morphing into a statement of boundaries / must-follow scripture.

If your current JD is limiting, create your own JD based on context, need of the hour and your strengths to live by. Run it by your stakeholders if need be.

2. Alter the method of achieving KPIs aligning to your strength


The KPIs for your role that you get measured by, help gauge your performance in your role. Ensure that you have a healthy discussion with your manager on what those are.

Then use your strengths to achieve them (your method may look very different from those who are operationally strong). For eg, if your KPI is profitability, it can be achieved by increasing revenue or decreasing cost or both. If you are a dreamer, increasing revenue may be more your style.

If you lag in some KPI inspite of your best efforts, hire team members who have complementary strengths to you in your team.

3. Become efficient in parts of your job you don't like


The best way to reduce time doing things that you don't like is to make them efficient. Apply all that you have got in automating the tasks that drain your energy.

You can also schedule them in your calendar in such a way that you do them when your energy/focus is up (the part of the day that you are highly energised/focused).

4. Make the role yours


Sprinkle your star dust on the role. For eg, Your role many not ask really ask you think strategically. On your own initiative, you can create a point of view (POV) to future proof your business.

You can come up with proactive ideas/initiatives that will help your business thrive.

Over time, this will start reflecting on how people perceive you and what kind of roles/ initiatives get offered to you.

5. Consider changing roles / moving out


If everything above fails, and you become really miserable and in agony, consider changing your role or organisation as appropriate. However do it with due respect to all stakeholders involved and your teams.

What would you like to try to give wings to your dreams?

#coaching #executivecoaching #leadershipcoaching #dreamer

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