Games are fun because there are challenges to overcome. Without rules and difficulties that restrict the options available to us, a computer game would be as fun to play as an infinite blank excel sheet.
The challenges aren’t distractions from the game… they are the game. And when we master one level of difficulty we hope the next one will be even harder to crack so we don’t get bored.
In our work however we often experience the challenges of working with demanding bosses, casual subordinates and inflexible peers in other departments as frustrating blockages that prevent us from doing our jobs properly.
But the challenges are the game. Leadership is about aligning people with different objectives. Without this complexity our jobs would be a mundane list of tasks that people with half our talent would be paid to do at half of what we earn.
When we face a challenge at work we can either throw up our hands in disgust or we can grin and rub them together in anticipation. And when we master the current level of difficulty we can move to the next level where we hope the challenges are even more exciting.
Are you treating your work as a job or as a game?