Claire Lister champions the role of the generalist
We all have areas that we excel in and ones we don’t. Some of us are better at focusing on one specific thing but others can spread themselves over a variety of different areas. We all know that old saying: ‘a Jack of all trades and a master of none’, but is it actually a bad thing?
There are many advantages to being a generalist, or a ‘Jack of all trades.’ First of all, you’re able to spread yourself across multiple platforms, still be good at them and can be relied upon to do them right. Secondly, you become a ringmaster of sorts, taking a lead role in what is presented to be at the company.
Being a generalist doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not a specialist in anything, it just means you’re more rounded than anyone else!
Many generalists fit well into a leadership role because their skills span a variety of areas and their knowledge of people and tasks are extensive. Rather than focusing their energy on one thing, they’re more likely to divide their strengths to stop them from getting bored. In order to be best placed to manage a full team of people, you need to know a lot about everything rather than be an expert on one thing.
So, having dabbled in various occupations or situations previously, you’ve gained a vast amount of experience which is useful when taking on a leadership role. As a result, you can rely on the experience you have to problem solve and get a range of jobs done.
The more things you learn, the better and more open you are at being taught things in the long-run. As a generalist, your craving for knowledge never really stops. Therefore, it’s time-saving and more efficient to train up existing generalists as they’re more accustomed to taking in information than most people. They’re quick to pick up on things and understand what to do and when. Efficient staff members that are able to take information on board quickly are a dream to have within a team.
Adaptability & Confidence
Much like a chameleon, you can change your mind-set to suit the job you’re about to complete. Usually, a generalist will jump at any opportunity, making them a valuable member of the team as they can cover many bases and are trusted to complete tasks to a high standard. Consequently, it pays to be relatively good at a few things because you can walk into any job or situation with confidence. Knowing you have an arsenal of skills that are required to complete a job can give you an air of self-assurance which is a quality that employers really like to know their employees have.
Job Satisfaction & Variety
As a generalist, your time is largely taken up by the want and need to learn and participate in new things or by people needing your assistance in something. As a result, this is more likely to give you job satisfaction. However, remain wary. If you’re keen to get involved in a lot of things, and put yourself at the forefront of new projects, you may soon find yourself overloaded with commitments and tasks to complete. Too many responsibilities can lead to a quick burnout with stress becoming a major factor in your working life. Similarly, your focus can shift rapidly form one thing to another when really, it should stay on one thing.
Being a generalist leaves you open to the demands of the market and suggests that you can slot into a job role if you’ve got knowledge and have experience in it.
So, if you’re aspiring to be someone who leads, has knowledge in multiple areas of training and office skills, and is never bored at work then call yourself a Jack of all trades and be proud!
Own that title and remember this:
Jack of all trades, master of none, but oftentimes better than master of one.