Can you achieve high levels of ‘mastery’ in your role? Find out!

We’ve all heard phrases such as ‘master your role’ or ‘I’ve mastered my job’, but what does ‘mastery’ really mean and how is it linked to improved job satisfaction?

Mastery is a component of good work design (Curtin University).

Good work design can transform a workplace to benefit the business, workers, clients and others in the supply chain. It can also protect workers from harm and improve worker health and wellbeing (Safe Work Australia). 

We achieve high role mastery when we receive feedback and recognition from supervisors and peers, and when we have opportunities to see a piece of work through from beginning to end. 

According to the Centre for Transformative Work Design, Mastery can be broken down into four elements.

Each of these are explained further below, along with reflective questions.  

At the conclusion of our blog this month you’ll find some leadership tips to help you ensure high levels of mastery in your own role – and that of your teams.  Enjoy!

The Four Components of Mastery
Feedback from the Job

Getting feedback from our job means seeing we are moving forward.  Getting things done, making progress, achieving goals, staff progression – all of the things that indicate to you that you are on the right path.

Reflection:

Where do you get feedback from your job now?
Note down 2-3 ways you get your own sense of satisfaction from your work.

Feedback from Others

Feedback from others is vital for our development and performance. Constructive, corrective and complimentary feedback is all important and helps us understand we are achieving what we should be.

Reflection:

Do you have people around you who tell you when you have done something well? 
Who reinforces that you are on the right path?
Can you check in with others about how they see you progressing a task/project/problem?
Where can you ask for that feedback if it is not being offered?

Role Clarity

Role clarity means that your responsibilities, goals, expectations, and priorities are presented in a clear manner.

Poor role clarity is also a common psychosocial hazard – so this is one to watch for and ensure everyone is clear on their responsibilities. Particularly timelines when there are multiple competing priorities.

Having role clarity provides staff with agency over their work, reduces anxiety about whether they should or shouldn’t be performing a task and helps them just get on with the job.

Is anything falling through gaps?  If so, that’s a sure sign there’s a lack of role clarity lurking somewhere.

Reflection:


Do you/your team clearly know what tasks or aspects of a broader project or program they are responsible for?
Are they aware of your expectations in terms of quality and timelines? Have you checked in or assumed?
Are you having conversations about priorities if they are changing, to ensure the right thing is being worked on at the right time?

Task Identity

Task identity is possibly less well understood than the other three components of Mastery. 

When we have high levels of Task Identity it means we have the ability to take a task from beginning to end.  To achieve a sense of completion, or reward for closing out a problem, a task, or a project.

In our change saturated and high demand work, task identity may be one to keep an eye on.  As leaders are pulled from one project to another, task identity can suffer.  

When that happens, people may lose the ability to gain satisfaction from completion of tasks or projects. This can demoralise or demotivate individuals, particularly high achievers who are fueled by making progress.

Reflection:

How well does your job allow high task identity?
Are you pulled from one task to the other?

When was the last time you can identify the completion of a larger task from start to end?

 

4 Quick Leadership Tips for Ensuring High Mastery


1. Help individuals identify ways they can get feedback from their own role tasks.

2. Ensure your feedback is given, informally and regularly. Be intentional, and never assume (or believe) that someone doesn’t need a pat on the back every now and again. 

3. Be clear about role, responsibility, priority and agency expectations. 

4. Be mindful of changing priorities too often at the organisational, team and individual level, and ensure you/your teams are getting to experience the joy and achievement that comes from completing a piece of work.  



Need more?
If you’d like to know more about work design or mastery and how this can boost your own or your teams job satisfaction reach out for a chat.

References:

  • Commcare
  • Safe Work Australia
  • Curtin University – Future of Work Institute
  • Centre for Transformative Work Design

Tanya Heaney-Voogt

Director & Principal Consultant
MBA, ICFACC, MAHRI, Dip Mgt, Dip Coaching, Prosci® Certified Change Practitioner
E: tanya@tanyaheaneyvoogt.com

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