“A man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before great men” (Proverbs 18:16)

On a number of occasions, I have heard the following words from employees as they explain the ‘pain’ of their respective work contexts to me: “Jonathan, I do what is required of me. I have done my duty to the full. I don’t know what else I can do to be noticed in this environment”. My answer is a simple one: “Quit trying to get noticed and start doing what is not your duty”. The answer usually leaves a puzzled expression on the face of the employees, who then request an explanation. I might say: “Well, instead of trying to ‘position’ yourself or politically manoeuvre the pieces on the chess board to suit yourself alone, if you are doing all that needs to get done, start using your unique giftedness in a variety of ways to further enhance the organisational outcomes. Discretionary effort communicates your commitment to the organisation and its leadership, and becomes a dip-stick, measuring the depth of your passion for your role”. At this point, many shrug their shoulders and leave dismayed at my answer, feeling that they cannot do any more. Only a few understand, change the way they view their respective roles within the workplace and start exploring their creativity.

In the statement – a man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before great men – the key to appearing before great men does not lie in personality, good looks, position, manipulation or wealth, but in giftedness. As gifts are used, developed and perfected over time (as we take responsibility for them and use them appropriately), others recognise the contribution that this giftedness brings to the organisation and celebrate the inclusion of this unique offering. Yes, it is not my duty to go the extra mile; I don’t have to do stuff for which I am not paid; I can exercise my rights to do only what my contract stipulates – but what short-sightedness! Don’t expect a promotion!

Do what is not your duty. Go the extra mile. Exercise your giftedness creatively. Offer it freely. Give of it liberally. When you use your giftedness appropriately and sincerely within the workplace, doors will start opening for you.

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