In the past two weeks the subject of disconnection has come up over and over. Questions like, “How do I know that I fit in to this organization if all I’m asked is to complete busy work everyday?” or “If I am not privy to the evaluations of my peers or my boss, how can I learn and develop as a solid team member?” “I feel kinda’ lost about making my next career move, where do I begin?”

Our inner voice tells us its better to belong to a group or organization that feels like family. It may feel better at first but we also know that lots of families are dysfunctional. We think everything is okay on the outside, but there’s an undercurrent that could rise up at any moment and blow the whole thing up. We enter the world of work with excitement because, well, “we got the job!” and therefore must be well qualified for the tasks at hand. We arrive engaged and ready to learn, and somewhere along the way we gain enough information to know where we stand, and whether it feels right for us.

It’s around this time, when we have our bearings and we begin to see how effective our work can be, that we begin to think about expanding our work. For anyone at this point in their career, it’s time to be sure of three things:

> that you know your strengths and values;
> you know how your work aligns with your organization’s overall strategic goal;
> and you see how your work and that goal interplay.
Once you have that, you can begin to model your behavior in a way that allows you to show up like the leader you’ve always wanted to be. That information is hugely helpful.

Too often companies choose weekly or monthly goals and they think that’ll get them to the finish line. But if your employees are heads-down all the time, getting to a satisfactory end of their week, they don’t see the finish line, they don’t know how close they are to it, and they never zero-in on the overall goal.

First, know yourself. Learn how you work. Learn what you’re good at, and what you don’t like to do. Own that. You don’t have share it, but you do have to know it.

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