6 steps to energise your team’s spirit at work

Leadership and people-management specialist Karen Gately shares six simple steps for energising your team’s spirit at work and achieving business success.

Contemplate how much more likely you are to strive toward your goals and give your all when you feel energised. On the flip side, reflect on the ways you’re likely to behave when you’re drained of energy. The strength of our spirit, and the depth of the positive energy we have in reserve at any given time, have a profound impact on the choices we make about how to behave. Whether consciously or otherwise, every person on your team decides the behaviours they bring to work and therefore the level of contribution they make.

Leveraging your team’s spirit to optimise business performance is undoubtedly a smart move in a commercial sense. Capable people purposefully doing smart things inevitably leads to better results. However, there is little doubt that nurturing and leveraging the human spirit in business leads to benefits well beyond results and shareholder returns. Every leader has a double-edged opportunity to achieve better outcomes for their organisation and to positively impact the quality of people’s working lives while doing so.

Here are six steps to build the strength of your team’s spirit.

1. Get to know people

Each person on your team is unique, so to influence their spirit you require an understanding of what makes them tick. Spend time with your staff and listen to what they have to say. Deeply listen to and observe who they are. Know what they want to achieve and the role they need you to play for them to succeed. Understand what energises their spirit, as well as the things that typically drain them of vital energy.

2. Encourage enjoyment

While not every aspect of someone’s role needs to be fun, for people to be energised they need to enjoy what they do. Reflect for a moment on how many of the people you know, don’t like their job. Have you met a schoolteacher who doesn’t like kids? How about an HR person who doesn’t like people? The drain of doing a job we don’t enjoy can be profound.

3. Inspire optimism and belief in the future

The strength of our belief is reflected in how we feel about the future and our ability to influence that future. For many people, belief is a vital source of strength and resilience is fuelled by a strong spirit. What matters is how people feel about the future as well as their ability to influence the future. Feeling hopeful, optimistic, encouraged, confident, empowered and certain is energising for most people.

4. Encourage a strong sense of personal value

Our sense of personal value reflects how we feel about ourselves, as well as how we believe other people feel about us. For each of us, which of these two has a stronger influence may vary, for most of us both are important to some extent.  Feeling that we are valuable, qualified, capable and successful is energising for many people as well. Believing we are valued, trusted, respected and accepted are also often important.

5. Help people find purpose and meaning in their work

The extent to which we are able to find purpose and meaning in our work also plays a role in energising or draining us. How we feel about what we and our organisation contribute matters. Doing a job that has an altruistic purpose energises many people, while others derive purpose and meaning from the harmony between their values and those of the organisation they work for. Other people may want to feel a part of something bigger than themselves, or to contribute to the organisation’s success.

6. Build strong relationships

The quality of our relationships at work can have a very big impact on our spirit. What we feel from other people and what we feel towards them matters, whether it’s about our boss, colleagues, or with clients and service providers. We want people to feel appreciated, supported and safe. Begin by setting clear expectations about how people are expected to behave toward one another. Hold people accountable for behaving in a way that has a positive impact on their colleagues and team as a whole.