Quality of Spirit

As leaders, often times we get frustrated with the performance of our teams. We’ve trained them, coached them, put them in the right roles, set clear expectations and priorities, established reward and consequence metrics of accountability, and built a culture of action, winning and fun. Yet, in the face of all of our best-intended efforts, we still miss hitting our goals.


In this struggle comes frustration. The frustration causes worry, stress and even anger and these emotions sometimes blind us from seeing the truth…the truth that we still own their results. We still own analyzing what is producing the outcomes and owning the fact that in order for things to change, we must change. Maybe our training was poor. Maybe our coaching didn’t correctly touch on our team’s opportunity areas. Maybe their roles need to be realigned or the expectations clarified. Perhaps the stated priorities haven’t been reinforced by our own behaviors or maybe the metrics of accountability were unclear. And maybe our culture isn’t about winning, but about excuses and despair.


As desperate leaders, this frustration sometimes begins to show in little things. We may snap at someone, ignore them, roll our eyes, or gossip behind their backs. Other times it may roar out with shouting or banging things in our offices or complaining to our own bosses about the horrible team members we have. These methods of venting do nothing but further damage the culture of the team and bring down morale, including our own.


What we must remember is that above all, we need to create a positive and safe culture for our team. They need to feel welcome, supported and encouraged everyday that they come to work. They want to be empowered to do more, not discouraged to do less. No one wants to work in a stagnant environment of frustration or hostility, we all want to love…or at least like…our jobs.


As leaders its easy to blame the team, thinking that they are lazy, worthless, or simply don’t care. We start to think this and forget that it is up to us to intentionally look for their quality of spirit. Who are they truly? What are their dreams and desires? How do they want to contribute? Where do their true talents lie?


Our team members are human beings just like us. They have struggles, worries, and stresses outside of the workplace, just like we do. They have families, friends, and companions who love them, just like we do. They are just like us, trying to make it in this crazy world and their chosen profession is just one method to help them make it. Although our outside worlds differ, we have a common bond at work and we need to work with them, and not against them, to improve our results together.


Certainly, we must keep our standards high and not let the consistently non-compliant under-performers remain on our teams, and sometimes individuals are just not right for our business based on their own talents, skills, or passions, but we need to first look within ourselves to see where we can help to provide the necessary direction and support for them to be successful. If we are struggling, they are most likely struggling too and drastically need our help to improve. It all starts with us. Our behaviors need to impact their minds, bodies and hearts.


We need to look for and embrace our team’s quality of spirit in order to help them leverage it to achieve all they desire. Our focus needs to be on them. Our results are their “score card”…but they are the “report card” of our own performance.


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