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Transitioning From Watcher And Waiter To a Doer At The Workplace

These labels shape the culture and productivity of the organisation

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Bosses in many workplaces subtly categorise employees into distinct roles – “watchers” and “waiters,” with the rare few celebrated as “doers.” These labels go beyond mere descriptions; they shape the culture and productivity of the organisation. Here are the characteristics of each category of employees and strategies for transitioning from being a watcher or waiter into a doer.

The Watchers

Watchers are individuals who exhibit a strong inclination towards conservatism. They find comfort in existing systems and processes, often echoing the sentiment, “This is the way we’ve always done things here.”

Fear of failure looms large over them, hindering their willingness to take risks. Creativity rarely finds a place in their routine, as it threatens the familiar comfort zones they cherish.

Mentioning the word “change” incites resistance among watchers, as they perceive it as a threat to their stability. Rejection hits them personally, and bitterness is evident when their desires remain unfulfilled.

The Waiters

Waiters, in many respects, resemble watchers. They tread cautiously into the unknown and avoid pioneering initiatives due to a fear of failure. Instead, they prefer to ride on the coattails of go-getters while occasionally taking calculated risks.


When faced with rejection, waiters handle it with more resilience than watchers. They often find themselves perched on the fence, responding only when prodded. In the absence of substantial managerial pressure, they seldom initiate significant changes in their work environment.

The Doers

Doers are easily contrasted with the watchers and waiters. They fearlessly embrace challenges and display an affinity for risks, ambiguities, and uncertainties. Risks are not threats but rather invigorating challenges to them.

Doers thrive in a culture that encourages change and innovation. They freely share new ideas, unburdened by the fear of appearing foolish, and actively engage in creative endeavours. Rejection does not deter them; it merely redirects their determination towards new avenues.

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Doers are distinguished by their wealth of knowledge, versatile skill sets, and a positive attitude towards their work. They are the employees organisations turn to in times of trouble because of their ability to get things done.

Transitioning to a Doer

For watchers and waiters aspiring to transition into the esteemed role of doers, they need a clear vision of this capacity. The journey towards becoming a doer involves cultivating a distinct set of skills and traits.

It requires one to embrace calculated risks by viewing them as opportunities for personal and professional growth rather than menacing threats. To begin shedding the watcher or waiter mindset, one needs to step out of his or her comfort zone. This can lead to valuable experiences and accomplishments, despite possible failures.

Shifting to being a doer requires cultivating a creative mindset. It involves fostering a willingness to explore new ideas and unconventional approaches. Since creativity is the lifeblood of innovation, it would require one to actively seek out fresh perspectives and solutions.

During the transformative journey, one can build resilience. Rejection and setbacks will be inevitable but they should not be taken personally. Instead, they can be handled gracefully, without allowing them to deter progress. Moreover, they provide opportunities to learn and grow.

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Doers take the initiative of proactively introducing changes and improvements within one’s work environment. They do not need external pressure. To become a doer, do not wait for orders. Instead, identify areas for enrichment and take necessary steps to make them a reality.

Knowledge and skills

To shed the tag of watcher or waiter, commit to continuous learning. Equip oneself with knowledge and skills relevant to one’s field while staying abreast of industry trends. The world is constantly on the move, and so must employees striving to become doers.

Continuous learning ensures that one remains relevant and adaptable in an ever-changing workplace. A doer has a mentality that embraces change and uncertainty. The 21st Century workplace is characterised by constant change and ambiguity. Instead of resisting these factors, thrive within them while adapting with grace and agility.

Collaborative efforts often lead to breakthroughs and solutions that watchers and waiters might miss. It is important to foster collaborative relationships with colleagues. This involves drawing inspiration from shared perspectives and contributing to a dynamic, innovative work culture. It can also metamorphose watchers or waiters into empowered doers.

The writer is HRD Consultant and Author of Transition into Retirement, [email protected]

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SAMSON OSEROhttp://www.businesstoday.co.ke
Samson Osero is Human Resource Development Consultant and Author of 'Transition into Retirement'. My personal email is: [email protected]
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