Leadership, Our Blog

The Missing Ingredient

By Tasha M. Troy

This week I say goodbye to a group of clients that I have been working with for six months.

The EHLS (English for Heritage Language Speakers) Program is an incredible, intensive program – for participants and for trainers.  It is a professional development program focused on professional workplace communication skills and brings together an amazing assortment of international professionals who have committed these six months to their own personal and professional growth.

Even though it is a very intense six months even for me as a trainer, I return to teach this program year after year because it is such an honor to be a part of the growth of these bold and accomplished individuals.  Honestly, I feel I learn as much as I teach!

Last week, each participant gave a presentation in a research symposium, and they all did a fantastic job.  This is where I felt the proudest of them, largely because I, in partnership with another trainer, am responsible for the oral communications training culminating in their symposium presentations.

Of all the teaching and training positions I have held, this one has provided the greatest personal and professional fulfillment for me.  Playing a part in helping others improve their lives in such a tangible way always gives me such a sense of significance.


The Need for Significance

We all need a sense of significance to keep us moving forward.  In his book Intentional Living, John Maxwell quotes Rabbi Harold Kushner, who says, “Our souls are hungry for meaning, for the sense that we have figured out how to live so that our lives matter, so that the world will be at least a little bit different for our having passed through it” (p. 100).  This is what I’ve found in teaching with the EHLS Program.

I suspect that lacking that sense of significance is what makes so many people hate their jobs.

  • A good leader will help their team see the value in the work they do.  According to John Maxwell, “Good leaders listen, learn, and then lead” (Good Leaders Ask Great Questions, p. 49)
  • A bad leader makes their people dread coming in to work day after day.  After all, I’ve heard it said that people don’t quit companies; they quit people.

The simplest solution would be to change jobs, but that is not always possible.  Does that mean most people are stuck with unfulfilling jobs over the long term?  I don’t believe so.


Finding Significance

No matter what type of leader you have, you can always step in and lead yourself.  This is not always easy, but it is always possible.  When you take the time to identify what it is that motivates you, you can find ways to make your situation more fulfilling.

In his book Intentional Living, p. 92-100, John Maxwell provides three questions to help you identify what that might be:

  • What do you cry about?
  • What do you sing about?
  • What do you dream about?

The answer to these three questions will lead you to activities that give you a sense of significance.

This doesn’t mean you’ll suddenly love everything about your job, and you might not even be able to find significance in many of the activities of your job.  However, the more you can identify or build fulfilling roles and responsibilities in to your regular work routine, the more fulfilled you will be.


Take It Deeper

If you are feeling stuck in your job, sometimes it’s hard to know where to start to make a change.  If you need someone to help you ask the right questions to make the best decision, I hold free exploratory coaching sessions each week.  You can register online at Troy Communications or email me to schedule an appointment at TMTroy@TroyCommunications.Net.

If you enjoyed this article and would like to receive these monthly posts in your inbox, you can subscribe at Troy Communications Blog.

For more information about the EHLS Program, visit their website at http://www.ehlsprogram.org.


Works Cited

Maxwell, John. (2015). Intentional Living: Choosing a Life that Matters.

Maxwell, John. (2014). Good Leaders Ask Great Questions: Your Foundation for Successful Leadership.