How often have you arrived somewhere but were left wondering how you got there? The classic example I’m sure many of us have experienced is of driving to a destination only to realize we have little memory of the journey along the way. Some days for me feel a lot like that lately. I find myself here in this moment, very proud of everything my family, team and I have achieved together. However, while I’m accurately aware of how hard we’ve worked and how much we’ve sacrificed, the path leading to this point in many ways is a blur.
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve spent some time reflecting on and trying to form clearly in my mind a view of the steps that have lead to where we are now. Why all the reflection you may be wondering? The first week of July marks two significant milestones in my career and life. Firstly it’s Ryan Gately’s 7th Birthday and second The People Manager’s Toolkit is available in bookstores.
It’s surreal to contemplate how much time has gone by since Ryan Gately began. I recall as though it were yesterday the excited conversations between Lisa Ryan and I about our dreams for our new business. While Lisa left to pursue other adventures in her life I will always be grateful for her willingness to link arms with me, take a deep breath and step off the cliff of unknown that I’m sure anyone who has taken a giant leap of faith knows all too well.
It’s difficult to express the excitement I feel about sharing The People Manager’s Toolkit with the world. No doubt like most authors I hope we sell millions of copies and make a massive difference in the lives of those who read it. While we will reach for the stars no doubt I will also be happy if it makes a positive contribution to the ability of even a few teams or businesses to thrive. Much like bringing a child into the world I am both immensely proud and nervous about my baby’s first steps.
Here is a short extract from The People Managers Toolkit that captures a key message that I share throughout the book about the human spirit and its role in driving performance standards and ultimately results. To get a free sample chapter click here
Understanding team spirit
Imagine for a moment your team’s spirit as a ball filled with positive energy. The more energy contained within the ball the stronger your team’s spirit. The spirit of each member of your team determines the energy they have in reserve and can unleash in pursuit of their objectives. The vitality, enthusiasm and drive each person brings to their work is drawn from this reserve of positive energy. It is also from this energy source that people draw strength to keep striving through challenging times.
Every people manager plays a critical role in influencing the strength of their team’s spirit, individual by individual and as a team. Their primary focus must be on pumping positive energy into the team’s spirit and doing everything possible to limit those things that have a draining effect. Negative energy doesn’t dilute our spirit; rather, it has the effective of depleting our positive energy. How often have you experienced the draining effect of a negative person’s company? If we are feeling strongly energised, their influence may be only marginal; if we are already drained, however, these individuals can quickly diminish our vitality. Even when we are highly energised, over time such people can drain the life force from us.
Each person is unique, and to influence their spirit requires an understanding of what makes them tick. Here is a brief summary of the five most common influencers of the human spirit at work.
1 Personal value
Our sense of personal value reflects how we feel about ourselves as well as how we believe others feel about us. Positive emotions we should encourage include:
- how I feel about me: valuable, qualified, capable and successful
- how I believe others feel about me: valued, trusted, respected and accepted.
The quality of our relationships at work can influence our spirit. Whether with our boss, colleagues or staff, or with clients or service providers, what we feel from other people and what we feel towards them matters. The types of positive emotions we want people to feel include:
- how I feel from others: appreciated, supported and safe
- what I feel towards others: trust, respect and regard.
3 Purpose and meaning
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 for others purpose and meaning derive from the harmony between their values and those of the organisation they work for. Still other people want to feel a part of something bigger than themselves or to contribute to the organisation’s success. Examples of the types of positive emotions we want people to feel include:
- what I feel from what I and my organisation do: satisfied, fulfilled and rewarded
- how I feel about what I and my organisation do: proud, ambitious and passionate.
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. Examples of the types of positive emotions we want people to feel include:
- how I feel about the future: hopeful, optimistic and encouraged
- how I feel about my ability to influence the future: confident, empowered and certain.
Liking what we do matters. All too often I meet people who are fundamentally unhappy in their work. If we don’t like our job or enjoy doing it, it is unlikely to energise us and will likely drain our spirit. Examples of the types of positive emotions we want people to feel include being entertained, interested and amused doing what they do.