Over a year into the global pandemic, many of us feel the weariness of multiple lockdowns. Being cooped up at home and at arm’s length from our colleagues is causing many people to lose heart. Leaders everywhere are facing the challenge of keeping their people engaged and energised whilst the turbulent times continue.
Here are three ways to stay connected with your zest for work:
1. Connect with your innate vitality
Having a clear sense of purpose is directly related to our health, resilience and longevity. A leader needs to be in touch with what brings them alive. We cannot energise another without being energised ourselves. We cannot engage a team unless we are engaged ourselves. Leadership begins with attending to our own flow of energy. Our vitality ‘infects’ others more than anything we do.
Activating enthusiasm is key to unlocking our own and other people’s energy. When work gives us a ‘warm glow’ inside, we’re willing to go the extra mile, collaborate with a colleague and be an ambassador for our organisation. Ask yourself:
- What’s the most meaningful thing I can do in my work right now?
- Who do I feel most drawn to help?
- What’s the impact I most want to have?
As our time and talents flow towards something that stirs us, it brings positive energy to ourselves and others. It is a sense of purpose that powers us to move though difficulties as we keep our gaze on the cathedral we’re building, not just the brick that we’re laying.
2. Enable your people to grow
In our fast-paced, achievement-oriented, materialistic culture, it is easy for leaders to skip over how they can help others to grow. Research by Korn Ferry Hay Group has found that in high-change environments, leaders often overlook the need to develop the people they lead. They might be too busy, too stressed or too unclear about what the future holds. Leaders who are aware of this pervasive blind spot have a much better chance of addressing it and keeping their people on board.
Employees who feel connected to a higher purpose at work and doing what they do best have been found to be three times more likely to stay with their organisation than those whose work lacked meaning.
Enable the people around to tune into what they feel called to do. Be curious. Ask genuine questions: What does being your ‘best self’ look like for you? Listen to what they have to say in response. Even if you’re not line-managing people, showing a genuine interest generates energising conversations where people do fresh thinking and see glimpses of new possibilities.
3. Get creative
Come up with an alternative job title that reflect your talents and unique contribution. Invite people around you to do the same. When the CFO introduces herself as the ‘Queen of the bank’, the CEO as ‘Chief Cheerleader’ and the Director of Partnerships as ‘Chief Meercat’, the atmosphere becomes playful. People quickly get a sense of who they really are and who others are and this opens up an authentic dialogue, where people feel that they can be themselves without wearing the corporate mask.
According to Dan Cable, a professor at London Business School, this exercise improves team dynamics because people increase their understanding of each other’s roles and responsibilities. This greater role-clarity aids decision-making because it reduces ambiguity – a team gets on with the task that it is there to do, with more zest and confidence. It can even help you with your job search or looking for that next opportunity at work – having clarity about who you are and what you bring is fuel for moving forwards.
About the author
CEO of Bridgework Consulting, Sarah Rozenthuler is a leadership consultant, chartered psychologist and dialogue coach with 15+ years international experience consulting to many organisations, including BP, Discovery, Book Trust and Standard Chartered Bank. Author of new book, Powered by Purpose, she coaches CEOs and their teams to lead more purposefully and communicate more effectively.
In autumn 2021, Sarah will be co-facilitating Activating Purpose-Led Leadership, a two-day programme for business leaders, executive coaches and community leaders wishing to create resilient organisations and engaged teams through harnessing the power of purpose.
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This content has been created by authors in their personal capacity. Any views, thoughts and opinions expressed belong solely to the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Pearson.