Sun | Jan 20, 2019

Trevor E. S. Smith | “Why Should I Volunteer? Nobody Cares Anyway!”

Published:Sunday | July 22, 2018 | 12:00 AM

"I stopped making the sacrifice as it was clear that the leadership did not value what I was doing to empower my colleagues. I decided to channel my energies where I would get a better return on my investment."

ï "I know someone like this. Because of leadership, she has stopped offering her unique talents in assisting our unit and has now left an unexpected and almost insurmountable gap. There was a failure to recognise her contribution on leadership's part. She was also ridiculed. She was deeply offended and hurt."

ï "This is a very important point ... you are inspired to make a difference, recognising gaps and offering solutions that positively impact the business and it truly hurts when your superiors do not acknowledge your efforts. I need a come-to-Jesus moment ... now."

Those sentiments were expressed by talent managers and other professionals in the Certified Behavioural Coach programme relating to the issue of doing things that fall outside of one's job description.

There is a consistent pattern in a cross section of organisations in which the only thing that counts is meeting the requirements of key performance indicators (KPIs) that are linked to traditional job descriptions that are not informed by forward-looking competency frameworks.

This approach adds fuel to the low employee engagement challenge that is frustrating performance across the globe.




A quick refresher: We have four behavioural toolkits to navigate through life:


2. Inducement/Influence

3. Steadiness and

4. Conscientiousness.

Our behaviour is one aspect of our personality. Our personality is shaped by other factors, including culture, gender, age and education. Our behaviour is a blend of the four toolkits. However, we tend to prefer one or two sets of tools. The most favoured toolkit is what is described as your behavioural style.

We were in the process of identifying, appreciating and working with different behavioural styles. We indicated that individuals who have chosen Inducement/

Influence as their preferred behavioural style tend to have a desire to go beyond what is strictly required.


Inducement/Influence Behavioural Style


Some of the undiluted behavioural characteristics in the Inducement/Influence toolkit include:

- Achieving results with and through people.

- Being interconnected and engaged with others, even outside of traditional linkages.

- Being a change agent and early adopter.

- Having sensitive antennas, a desire to enjoy new experiences.

- Being ready to volunteer, including going beyond job descriptions.

- Being innovative and creative, including thinking 'out of the box' or being 'disruptive'.

These characteristics tend to encourage individuals to reach out beyond their traditional or official duties. They want to explore new opportunities and to add value outside of the confines of their J-O-B.




There is a huge downside and risk to the Inducement/Influence Behavioural Style in many organisations because they are wed to traditional ways of thinking.

For example, a receptionist who takes an interest in acquiring core photocopier maintenance skills from the technician and who has the capacity to help colleagues with spreadsheet challenges, could be firmly reprimanded for leaving her station. When she is ultimately dismissed, her value beyond her job description is lamented.

The bearer who takes time to network on the organisation's behalf on his route is accused of wasting time on the road.

An executive takes on coaching and mentoring colleagues. She is active in working with the community. She is viewed as lacking focus and commitment when she comes up for a promotion.


Re-educate Re-induce/Influence


Individuals who prefer the use of the Inducement/Influence toolkit (I-Style) are widely misunderstood and even face behavioural discrimination.

The I-Style sees life through different lenses. The experience is as important as the end result. Being engaged in the journey and valuing what takes place on the way trumps a mindset that says that as long as we meet our objectives that is all that matters.

The impact of team spirit and the value of being connected to colleagues is often missed. The importance of the people factor is misguidedly underestimated.

Individuals with an I-Style preference get it even while others neglect it, and later regret it.




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- Trevor E. S. Smith and the Success with People Academy team prepare and certify leadership professionals and coach/mentors and develop engaged, high-performing teams. Hire smart with their recruitment solutions. Now enrolling coaches in the ICF/SHRM-accredited Certified Behavioural Coach programme. Email: