Effective Leadership

Are You a Hustler or a Vacationer at Work?

Cindy's article on employees who are hustler's vs employees who are vacationers

The essential ingredient to your promotion.

Surprisingly many of my clients operate on a faulty assumption. They assume if they work hard and do good work they will get ahead.

Quite frankly these two variables are not key differentiators. Except for those who I call vacationers, most employees are invested and take pride in doing good work.

Vacationers, on the contrary, are not tied to the larger mission.

If you ask vacationers to articulate the larger strategy or how their role connects to the organisation’s purpose and value creation they either don’t care or have no clue.

Every organisation has vacationers. They do their job, collect their paycheque, wait with relish for every statutory holiday, and count the hours and days until their vacation.

You know who I’m talking about. Corporations have employees who coast.

Employee miscommunications are expensive

So why are they there?

Well, for a whole bunch of reasons.

Maybe the organisation is too large and they are flying under the radar, maybe somebody is protecting them, maybe they do have a hard to find skill, maybe they aren’t being managed well or maybe their boss shares similar traits.

Whatever it might be, as an employee you have a choice.

A choice to be angry with these lacklustre employees or you can put your energy into achieving your aspirations.

To get ahead you must hustle.

Hustling means you are doing something that differentiates yourself from the pack. If you are part of the pack then you will be recognised for that.

Leadership means that you must be in front of the pack.

Very few employees step back and ask what will make them stand out. They just show up, keep their head down and follow their mandate.

One of my very esteemed senior colleagues put it best. She said, “I have come to the conclusion that most people just want to be led.”

So think about this. She is very right. There is comfort in being led. You don’t have to challenge, engage in debate, controversy or go against the status quo. You just are. The slogan for being led is “just be”.

Leading three causes of employing bad people and how to avoid them

(Chart Source: Reputationaire)

If you aren’t content because you are aspirational or you believe you are not getting what you deserve then you must hustle. Let’s define hustle.

When we think of hustle in the very traditional sense we think of energy. Lots of people have energy. Hustle means a special kind of energy.

Changemakers hustle. Innovators hustle. Intra and entrepreneurs hustle. These thought leaders have lots in common which allows them to stand out.

Do you share these traits?

If you truly want that promotion you need to think about acquiring these attributes. If you don’t, your career will flat line and then you might wonder why you’re not being recognised.

So here goes. How many of these hustler characteristics define you?

  1. Fearless – Not afraid to swim against the tide.
  1. Passionate – Stand up for what you believe in.
  1. Relentless – Keep fighting, even when you are told it’s impossible.
  1. Strong Advocacy – Influential stakeholders who join your cause.
  1. Game-Changing Solutions – Innovation and creation.
  1. Emotional Resilience – Stay in the fold.
  1. Value Creation – Give the public or consumer what they never knew they needed.
  1. Create a Groundswell – Develop viral carriers.

None of these traits define individual contributors. Which category do you belong to? Individual contributor, vacationer or hustler?

Hustlers are opportunistic in the best way possible. That is, they want to make a difference for both themselves and the greater good.

After reading this you now have a choice. The messages in this article can layer up on your forever growing dust pile or you can be propelled to action. Your call.

About the author

Cindy Wahler

Cindy Wahler

A Psychologist and expert in human behavior, Dr. Wahler's former leadership consultancy clients include British Telecom, Toyota, Ralph Lauren, and the Royal Bank of Canada to name a few. Dr. Wahler is also a regular contributor to Forbes, Huffington Post and Chief Executive Officer.