How to Create an Identity that Inspires Ownership Among Employees


In today’s world, across any industry, it seems like it’s getting more and more difficult to answer the question, “So what do you do exactly?” Over the years, we have honed a culture of multi-faceted work life and championed those who are able to utilize different skill sets to accomplish multiple tasks.

Nowadays, it’s not unusual a tall when an IT specialist may double as a content manager, or if a marketing manager is also a self-help book author and motivational speaker. Job titles have become mere amalgamation of things one does but cannot exactly explain. We live in a world where our job titles contain so many subtext of tasks that we can’t even explain what we do to our parents.

While it may seem like a good thing on the surface to be able to do so many things for a company, it does drown out one important factor in cultivating motivation among employees: identity. Having an identity as an employee means understanding what you do and knowing the value that you bring to the business. And this, consequently, brings forth many other positive results such as drive, engagement, and innovation.

Identity is Powerful

And an employee who knows his value is a driven, engaged, and innovative employee—and all of these inspire ownership in the workplace. But how exactly do you do this? One effective way is by applying the labeling theory, which basically is a self-fulfilling theory. We all adhere to one or more labels in different faces on our lives, and we all know how powerful this could affect us either negatively or positively.

And in using labeling in a positive way and as a means to motivate employees, it could do wonders. One study has shown that by labeling employees as “innovators,” it has been found that this improved the way they contributed ideas. They felt more encouraged to share ideas and actual innovations, they collaborated better, and the overall productivity of the team has increased.

This just shows how powerful identity is, and that by merely assigning people a positive label, it is already the first step in motivating them to live up to their label, and help them achieve their own professional goals along the way.

Oct 22, 2015

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