Having deepened my understanding of baggage this past month by writing about it so extensively, I now see that possibility in a new light. Here are some of the components of how it might function to rework baggage at work:
Everyone at work has a job that requires particular skill-sets and less defined capabilities. In that context, there are always additional responsibilities that could take a job-holder's game up a level. Those responsibilities offer particular rewards that function as incentives to advance in skill-sets and capabilities. This creates an ideal context to rework some baggage.
The job holder's baggage will usually interfere with taking on the additional responsibilities and earning the additional rewards. The interference may take many different forms including:
- mental blocks that inhibit communicating with others, expressing oneself, getting creative, etc.
- fear of getting known by others, exposed as flawed, understood as underdeveloped, etc.
- emotional instability, inclinations to overreact, propensity toward outbursts, etc.
- patterns of avoidance, making excuses, shirking responsibility, lying about misdeeds, etc.
- urges to retaliate against mismanagement, sabotage work in progress, steal supplies, etc.
- misreading individual character, problematic situations, unexpected opportunities, etc.
- ineffective efforts to change policies, reformulate strategies, improve team dynamics, etc.
In typical work settings, baggage like this does not get discussed. It's considered too psychological, subjective and complex to handle at work. When baggage interferes with job performance, the situation gets diagnosed as a lack of ability, motivation, management attention or training. The baggage continues to interfere with performance in spite of well-intentioned improvement efforts.
When baggage is explored as a possible explanation and area to rework, the interference can be put into remission. The rewards attached to additional responsibility incentivise the rework of the baggage. The accountability for changed behavior, demonstrated capabilities and reliable skill-sets insures that mere talk of changes is not good enough. The work-related context sets up expectations of significant and lasting changes in mindsets, outlooks, thought processes, emotions and conduct.
How the actual rework will get done is something I'm currently developing. Stayed tuned!