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Leadership development

Job crafting: 6 steps to take control of your career

September 4, 2020

In this blog we take you through a technique to take control of your own professional development. It's not a glitzy & inspirational silver bullet that will "change your life", but it will give you practical steps that you can follow to tweak your current role and add meaning to your day to day. At the end you should have a good understanding of where you are, where you want to get to and the mental framework to get there.

Job crafting, what is it?

Many of us carry out tasks that were never on the job description, whether that's to help your team reach its goals, to pursue an interest or simply because we're good at it.

Job crafting is a way of consciously redefining your role to align with your strengths, values and interests. When done well, it gives people a greater sense of job control and meaning and furthers their contributions to the team and company.

Why encourage your team to 'job craft'?

1. Reimagining work through job crafting gives people a greater sense of control. This is extremely reenergising and empowering for the team.
2. Encourages everyone to tap into their strengths and further their contributuions to the team.
3. Provides more definition around roles and responsibilities, avoiding confusions (eg two people assuming responsibility for the same task or tasks falling through the cracks under the assumption that someone else will take care of it).
4. By promoting job crafting, managers can be involved in the conversation and make sure it aligns with organisational goals.

How does it work?

1. List your current job tasks

List the tasks, responsibilities or projects you currently perform in your job. For each item listed, write down:
1. How much time they currently require (high/medium/low)
2. How much enjoyment or fulfillment you get from them (high/medium/low)
3. How essential they are to your team's performance (high/medium/low)

2. Reflect on your list

You should now have a portrayal of how you view your job, but not necessarily of how your job was originally designed to be, or how you'd like it to be. Spend a few minutes thinking about your list.
- Is this what you expected when you took the job? If not, which aspects are different?
- How do you feel about the way you allocate your time? Has it changed since you started your job?
- Is there anything you're neglecting to do altogether, which would improve your team's performance?

3. Map out your values, strengths and passions

Take 3 different coloured sticky-notes, one colour for each of the following three categories:
- Write down your top 2-4 values (consult your Saberr Base report if you've taken it).
- Write down your top 2-4 strengths. This can include skills, attributes or personality traits (consult the personality section of your Saberr Base report)
- Write down your top 2-4 passions or interests.  Use action words ending in -ing eg *reading, presenting, problem solving*

4. Map out your task blocks

Take yet another colour sticky-note. Use one sticky-note for each block of tasks, responsibilities or project that you would like to or need to include in your job, with the help of the list you made in Step 1.  

For each sticky-note consider:
- The other people involved, interested or who would benefit - how you can best manage those relationships?
- Does it help you fulfill your values, strengths and passions from Step 3? How so?

5. Frame your tasks with meaning

Group your tasks next to the values, strengths and passions that they help you fulfill. You can do this on a wall, whiteboard or table.
- You may find several task groups start forming or you may end up with one large group.
- You may need to create more sticky-notes for the same value, strength, passion.

There are no rules here. You are bringing everything together in a way that helps you reframe the meaning and purpose of your job, so just play around with the sticky-notes until it feels right to you!

6. Draw actions

Once you're happy with your arrangement, take a photo. Now turn your new job visualisation into a reality. Consider the following questions to make your action plan:
- Can you alter the way you perform a task to make it more enjoyable or meaningful?
- Are there any undesirable tasks that you can simplify, automate, delegate or drop altogether?

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