How to align yourself with the right job.
Feeling out of place or misunderstood in your job is a common experience that can be mentally taxing and demoralizing for everyone, but especially for the person in the role. While it’s easy to blame oneself for not performing well or feeling disengaged, the root cause of this mismatch usually comes down to a lack of understanding about role fit. In this article, we’ll explore the concept of role fit and how it can impact job satisfaction, as well as provide practical tips for finding the right fit.
Understanding Role Fit
Role fit refers to the alignment between an individual’s natural strengths and preferences and the requirements of their job. When there is a good fit, employees feel competent and engaged in their work, leading to higher job satisfaction and performance. On the other hand, when there is a mismatch between an employee and their job, it can lead to dissatisfaction, disengagement, and burnout.
Three Common Stories (real stories, fake names)
Let’s take a look at three common stories where individuals experienced a lack of role fit and how it impacted their work and life.
Celeste is a skilled salesperson who consistently meets and surpasses her targets, often surprising her bosses by pulling off impressive sales at the last minute. Her success led to her being promoted to sales manager, where she was responsible for overseeing all sales activities, managing the sales team, and recruiting new salespeople. However, despite her can-do attitude, Celeste struggled to adapt to her new role and became overwhelmed with the managerial tasks assigned to her. She persisted in the role, unwilling to quit and be seen as a failure, but her focus on managerial duties caused her sales to suffer and the enjoyment she once had to diminish.
Brian used to be a creative and adventurous engineer who enjoyed tackling challenges and coming up with innovative solutions for a boutique engineering company. However, after being laid off from the job he loved during the recession, he struggled to find work and settled for a position at the local county council working on mundane school district projects. He left and got another job. Job after job, he became increasingly disengaged and his self-confidence and passion dwindled. Despite his talent, he ultimately burned out and quit, leaving him feeling depressed and unsure of his ability to provide for his family.
Stella had always wanted to be a nurse, and helping people was her calling. The first signs of trouble came when she was at nursing college. The amount of chemistry and other procedural things she had to learn was a big challenge. But, her heart was set and she took it all on as a necessary challenge. 3 years into her career at a hospital things started to go wrong. The intensity of the administrative and detailed record-keeping took its toll. Was she cut out for this? She began to wonder. It didn’t take much longer for her to make a more serious mistake, and what little confidence she had left melted away, and she left. However, Stella was tenacious. She wanted to serve people. Not long after she learned about her Thinking Style, she found a job in a modern elder care home. She thrived on making its residents smile with her antics and easygoing personality.
These stories demonstrate how a mismatch in role fit can lead to negative outcomes. It’s important to recognize the signs of a poor fit and take action to address them. But, it’s more important to understand that the most common cause of the role misfit is not skill set or intelligence, it is the lack of understanding of how people fit into roles, and the important part people’s Thinking Styles play.
Assessing Your Role Fit
If you’re feeling out of place in your job, it’s important to assess your role fit. Consider the following questions:
- Do you feel hesitant or anxious when you think about your job or the way you’re being asked to do things?
- Do you feel that you’re struggling and working against your natural preferences?
- Do you feel engaged and energized by your work, or do you feel drained and unfulfilled?
Answering these questions can help you identify whether you’re in the right role or not. If you’re experiencing negative feelings, it’s time to take action.
Understanding the role of Thinking Style
It’s been said that the main reason people don’t succeed in a job is not because of their skill set or intelligence, but because of their Thinking Style. But if this is true, why aren’t managers and others who hire people better at hiring people who are a good fit for the job?
One reason is that a particular role may have several supervisors, each with their own expectations and approach to managing the person in the role. This can be confusing for the person trying to do their job while trying to meet different sets of expectations.
To improve the hiring process, it’s important to have a collective understanding of the type of person that’s needed for the role beyond just skills and experience. This starts with self-awareness, and taking the MindTime Thinking Style survey can be a helpful tool. Once you understand your own Thinking Style and how it affects your approach to work, you can better understand why poor fit is relevant.
Knowing the type of Thinking Style that’s needed for a role is a critical first step. While skills can be taught, a person’s basic way of approaching life cannot be changed. Once you have a clear idea of what Thinking Style is needed for a given role, ensure that everyone involved in the hiring process is in agreement.
Practical Tips for Finding the Right Fit
- Redefine the role requirements and identify relevant Thinking Styles: In addition to skills and experience, it’s important to identify the thinking style that’s required for the role. For example, a role that requires a lot of analytical thinking may not be suitable for someone who prefers a more creative thinking style. Identifying the relevant thinking style can help you find a candidate who is better suited to the role.
- Provide a realistic job preview: A job preview can give candidates a realistic idea of what the role entails and whether they would be a good fit for the job. This can include a job shadowing opportunity, a chance to talk to current employees in the role, or a project that simulates the tasks they would perform in the role.
- Introduce the Thinking Style assessment in your hiring process: Assessing a candidate’s thinking style can help you identify if they have the right skills and thinking style for the job. This can be done through an assessment, such as the Mindtime Thinking Style survey, to give you a better idea of how the candidate thinks and works.
Another reason for poor job fit is a lack of self-awareness on the part of individuals. Enthusiasm and passion will get you only so far, to keep going for a career require more than these. Assessing your natural tendencies and preferences, and your way of operating effectively is essential for you to make the right choices. Cash and glamor be damned, what you really need in the long term is to be happy and feel a strong sense of self-worth and belonging in your work. The ball is in your court to assess for yourself what is right for you.
- Understand your Thinking Style: Before you can find the right fit, you need to understand your natural strengths and preferences, and your blind spots. Take time to assess your Thinking Style and identify the types of tasks and environments that bring out the best in you. This self-awareness can help you identify roles that align with your natural way of engaging in everything that you do.
- Reframe your current role: If you’re not in a position to change roles, consider whether you can reframe your current role to better align with your natural strengths. Are there tasks or projects you can take on that play to your strengths? Can you negotiate with your manager to adjust your role responsibilities to better suit your Thinking Style?
- Explore other roles within the organization: If you’re not able to reframe your current role, explore other roles within your organization that better align with your natural strengths and Thinking Style. Talk to your manager or HR about your interests and the types of roles you feel would be a better fit. If you’re a valuable employee, they will likely want to keep you and support your career development.
- Look for opportunities outside the organization: If you’re not able to find a good fit within your current organization, consider exploring opportunities outside the company. Use your newfound knowledge about your Thinking Style to present your strength and skills in a new light.
Finding the right fit for your role is crucial for job satisfaction and career success. Understanding how you think plays a huge role in your life and can help you identify the types of jobs that would be the best fit for you. If you find yourself in a role that doesn’t match your Thinking Style, take action to reframe your role fit.
Different Thinking Styles lead to different strengths and weaknesses, and understanding one’s own Thinking Style always helps to leverage one’s strengths and compensate for one’s weaknesses.
Overall, understanding the relationship between high performance, role fit and Thinking Style can be valuable for organizations to optimize their talent management and improve overall performance.
Have you had an experience with role fit in the workplace?
Share your thoughts in the comments below or take the MindTime Thinking Style survey to better understand your own thinking and how it affects your role fit.