The simple truth is that unless people want to succeed at what they do, they are unlikely to. No matter their skills or experience, the standard of contribution people make depends on the level of energy they choose to invest. Reflect for a moment on talented people you have seen fail to step up when they needed to. Have you yourself missed opportunities because you lacked the desire to pursue them?
Success requires that we both have the requisite capabilities, and that we apply them. The extent to which we are likely to succeed however, is reflected in the strength of our spirit; the reserve of positive energy we have which enables us to make effective behavioural choices.
Energised people are more likely to make choices that allow them to effectively apply their talents. When drained of energy however, even the most talented and typically motivated among us, can fail to perform at our best.
Among the most important influencers of our spirit, is enjoying what we do. A sense of satisfaction, fulfilment, and alignment with our passions are essential to our ability to build a thriving career. When people are engaged with their role and enjoy the challenges or opportunities it presents, their spirit is likely to be energised. In contrast, when people don’t enjoy their job, environment or colleagues, the draining influence is likely to undermine their engagement and ultimately performance.
Ask the question
Influencing the success of your team begins with understanding each person and what energises or drains them. Among the most important questions you can ask is: Do you love your job? Understanding the extent to which people enjoy their work will give you deep insights into the behavioural choices they make.
The stronger a person’s passion for their role, the more likely they are to invest energy into succeeding. Ask every member of your team what they enjoy most about their job, and the things that frustrate or drain them. Understand what proportion of their time is spent engaged in tasks or interactions that are enjoyable versus time spent on tasks that aren’t.
For many people, discovering what makes them happy, or what they are passionate about, is in of itself a challenge. Guide your team members to create a clear view of the role they want to play by helping them to first understand who you really are. Help people understand how they want to contribute in this world through their work. Armed with an intimate understanding of the things they love and what they want to achieve, people can begin to make the deliberate choices necessary to turn their career aspirations into reality.
Work with people to assess the extent to which the work they do is aligned with what they really enjoy. Understand what needs to change to better position them to succeed now and into the future. Explore the paths people want to take and understand how their aspirations align with the future needs of your business. Reflect on how the needs of your business are likely to evolve and the steps people can take to grow with those needs.
While it may not be possible to immediately move people to roles they will enjoy, look for opportunities to do that over time. Targeted career planning is essential to grow your people and also keep them with your business. Among the most common reasons people give for joining or leaving an organisation is the opportunity to learn and progress.
Invest time in identifying the capabilities people need to develop in order to achieve their career goals. Recognise the specific skills, knowledge or experience required, and identify ways in which people can acquire them. Think laterally about development opportunities. Participating in projects, attending events and supporting more senior colleagues can be valuable ways of advancing the capabilities and enhancing the engagement of your people.
Recognise also when the ideal next role for a member of your team member lies outside of your organisation. Don’t be afraid to help people to move on; open and honest dialogue, together with a cooperative mindset, can go a long way to enabling you to smoothly transition responsibilities to new members of your team and minimise adverse impacts to your business.