Have you ever looked around your work environment and seen a lot of “different environments”?
Some desks are clean surfaces with workable tops. No stacks, no clutter and no paper in sight at the end of the day.
Others are filled with stacks of papers.
And yet others are not only filled with uneven stacks but strewn with clutter on floors, cabinets and any available surface with no apparent place to perform a task.
In this age of “paperless” communication there seems to be even less reason for this workspace’s seemingly chaotic environment. However it still exists as it always has perhaps to a lesser degree. (This same philosophy applies to computer files, emails, social media, etc.)
Our professional workspace is a microcosm of how we interact with and manage the “things” in our life and how we “think”.
Consistency and order are reflected in the spotless workspace. There is a sense of having and needing control. Control over our work, its output and how much we accomplish. Structure brings this person gratification. The quality of the output is consistent. Daily processes and procedures are met rigorously. Interruptions to routine are met with resistance. Piles are not required because when work is put in its proper place it will be taken care of in its ordered time.
Spaces where piles reside do not indicate any less desire for control but perhaps a sense of “urgency for all tasks”. All work is considered equal. Everything must be done at once. Decisions about order are not made easily. Things become sorted by: 1) Must do 2) I might be able to do and 3) It might be something extra I will be able to get to later. The daily work is done with skill and pride but there might be more I can do and by having it in sight I’ll remember to “get to it”.
Chronic chaos is just that. Work is done as the need arises. The more urgent work comes to the surface through deadlines (both internal and external). When the work is done it posses exceptional concentration and thoroughness. The person devotes their whole being and brain when performing any task. The work is detailed and insightful but not done in any consistent order or any predetermined schedule. The chaos does lead to things being “forgotten” or not attended to without assistance, but the work is so valuable when done that the aid of an assistant to set priorities can be worthwhile as a tool for this individual.
In all three cases it is always imperative that the person’s work is exceptional and they are the best person to perform certain jobs for the company.
Given that prerequisite, how does a leader (or parent, or teacher, or companion) relate to and embrace these differing styles of work and behavior?
You have the responsibility of bringing the BEST work out of each person and the group as a whole.
Each of these individuals brings different values that combined should bring excellence.
Your goal is to know how to assign jobs, roles, projects and responsibilities. Your job is to put the pieces together in such a way that the outcome is beyond what any one person could accomplish.
The “organized” worker or “deleter” in computer terms, is excellent at knowing and meeting their deadlines and the deadlines of others. Use this strength. Work that is repetitious and needed weekly, monthly, etc should become their responsibility. In addition they can be in charge of prompting others for deadlines they need to meet and usually cannot on their own. Their work is communicated well so everyone understands what their part is in order for the deadline to be met.
The “piler” or “file folder winner” in computer terms, is invaluable at seeing a bigger picture, formulating process and procedure, looking for new or better ways to do things or how change can occur. They can see to the end of the puzzle and work backwards to the steps that need to be taken along the way. They are not rigid but more flexible in reorganizing priorities as the need arises. They do adhere to and understand deadlines and are usually willing to help others achieve the results required in the time allotted. Their talent at problem solving can be used throughout the company.
The “chaotic” or “ram user” can bring genius. Innovation is usually more important than following tradition. They can be more “thinkers” than “doers”. They can be invaluable in getting others to see new possibilities. They can help sales by looking at new products or services. They can streamline production. They can use methodology to simplify process. They can assist the company in keeping up with technology.
Of course not all people exhibit their strengths through the state of their workspace or the way they manage their computer files, but when you get to know their work product and their abilities it is always up to you – the leader – to provide them with the opportunities to use their talents to their fullest potential.
Pay attention to your team as a group and as individuals and you will never be disappointed in the outcome.
What does your workplace normally say?
How can you look around and better redistribute duties to strengthen the team? ( Who should really be responsible for that monthly report? Who should be in charge of monthly sales quotas? Who should be responsible for social media? Who should be editing my blog? Just checking you got to the end.)
Love to hear from you!