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Monica Wofford, CSP, teaches leaders to understand how to ensure they are leading themselves well before leading others in a difficult direction.

Why is it that FUN and work are not more synonymous? Why do we think they can’t be? Can’t time fly when we’re working… because it’s so much fun?

We’re all familiar with the phrase “Time Flies When You’re Having Fun!” and yet, not so familiar with how to make what we do FUN so that the time flies consistently and even more so, while we’re working. Having just returned from my first real vacation in two years, this message flew into my line of sight like a speeding train. I was gone for 8 days in a beautiful country and in fact, saw 14 cities and untold numbers of famous sites, in those 8 days, but time flew by as if I were standing still on a super highway. For many, this feeling of time flying by happens when we’re in that so called zone, when we’re completely engaged and feeling passionate about what we’re doing. What a gift this would be if as leaders, we could create this environment for all those we have the privilege of leading. How do you make “time fly” for those you lead at the office, so that every day has the same feeling of a great day on a great vacation? Is it even possible? Hmmmm….

First, for those who work with you that have expressed or shown that their role is merely to have a job versus doing something they love this may not be a viable option. It’s hard to retrain someone who has decided that this is merely a job that they have to do for a myriad of reasons, to do something that helps them feel or experience passion. In this case, it may serve you and the person you lead to help them develop this mindset and grow…even if it means elsewhere. Note, I did not say to all of you contagious leaders… to go to the office this morning and fire all those who lack passion. I merely said, in a way “Pay attention to those who have passion and let those who don’t work it out even if that means helping them find it somewhere else.” Got it? So, for those who have passion or passion potential and see it in those you work with, here are three ways you can help them feel as if time is flying and the work they do is fun!

Determine the Activities for Which They Have Talent

Be mindful, having talent in something doesn’t always equate to being passionate about it, but it is certainly a possibility. The truth is a very social person can have developed a talent for numbers, but not really enjoy it. Those, however, who are naturally talented at something are naturally talented for a reason and it is that natural ability that goes hand in hand with passion. If you can determine who among the team you lead is naturally gifted at a task or skill or role, and put them in the role for which they are exceptionally qualified and that brings them excitement, you will have a much higher performing (and happier) employee who expends much less effort to get the job done and for whom, time will FLY!

Foster Their Creativity and Initiative

We often teach in Contagious Leadership courses that micro-management trains the initiative right out of folks and just to be clear, fostering personal initiative does not look like hovering over them to say “did you figure it out yet?” Make sense? Give them boundaries with room to grow. Give them end results or outcomes, with the ability to make their own choices and decisions on the ideal path to accomplish them. Reward them for the creative ideas that work and support them in resolving and reworking those that don’t. There is no harm in trying a new idea, only harm in requiring they don’t for fear we might have a mistake as an outcome.

Balance Boring with Exploring

In any role, no matter how Contagious a leader you are, there are likely going to be some tasks that are not fun and don’t create a sense of excitement. Have these clarifying conversations. This isn’t a free for all, where you turn employees loose to do only those things that create passion, it’s a balance. Perhaps those activities that make the time fly can be rewards for enduring those that don’t. Attempt to have more of the exciting, exploratory exercises in creativity and passion and also recognize and talk about the fact that the tasks that bore us to tears are great contrast for reminding us what we really love to do.

Work doesn’t have to be drudgery. Sundays don’t have to be filled with woe about going to work the next morning and fun does NOT need to be a dirty word at the office. It is possible to have a ball while still performing at extraordinarily high levels! What do you think we do at Contagious Companies? Hehe! It’s all possible, so enjoy your Monday, lead well, and of course, stay contagious!

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