Six ways to get your team fired up

Leadership and people-management specialist, Karen Gately offers six tips on helping your staff be their most energetic selves

Six ways to get your team fired up
Contemplate how much more likely you are to strive and give your all when you feel energised. On the flip side reflect on the ways you are likely to behave when you are drained of energy.  

The strength of our spirit, that is the depth of positive energy we have in reserve at any given time has 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 and therefore the level of contribution they make. 

Leveraging your team’s spirit to optimise business performance is undoubtedly commercially smart. Capable people purposefully doing smart things, really well inevitably leads to better results. There is little doubt however 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, while doing so, to positively impact the quality of people’s working lives. 

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

1.    Get to know people
Each person on your team is unique, and to influence their spirit requires an understanding of what makes them tick. Spend time with your staff and listen to what they have to say. Deeply listen and observe who they are, know what they want to achieve and the role they need you to play to enable 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, to be energized people need to enjoy what they do. Reflect for a moment on how many people you know who don’t like their job. Have you met the schoolteacher who doesn’t like kids?  How about the HR person who doesn’t like people?  The draining impact 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 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 to most people.    

4.    Influence 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. While for each of us, which of these two has a stronger influence varies, for most both are important to some extent. Feeling that we are valuable, qualified, capable and successful for many people are energising emotions. Believing we are valued, trusted, respected and accepted are also often important.   

5.    Help people to 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 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. 

6.    Build strong relationships
The quality of our relationships at work can have a very big impact on our spirit. Whether with our boss, colleagues or staff, or with clients and 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 appreciated, supported and safe. Begin but setting clear expectations of how people are expected to behave toward one another. Hold people accountable to behaving in ways that have a positive impact on their colleagues and team as a whole. 

Karen Gately is a leadership and people-management specialist and a founder of Ryan Gately. Karen works with leaders and HR teams to drive business results through the talent and energy of people. She is the author of The People Manager’s Toolkit: A Practical guide to getting the best from people and The Corporate Dojo: Driving extraordinary results through spirited people. For more information visit or contact [email protected]