How would your team members respond if you asked them: Why are you really at work?

Simple and innocent as the question sounds, how many team members would really answer honestly? Would you?

Wouldn’t most of us prefer a day at the beach or a long weekend to do more of what we really want to do – to decide on our terms what the time spent will look like and to do just that without any absolute needs or deadlines?

Or, does what you do perfectly align to your core life purpose, meaning that you absolutely love what you do every day, find complete fulfilment and cannot imagine a world where you are asked to contribute elsewhere (assuming that you have articulated your life purpose of course)?

Answering the questions above provides much-needed insight into developing a more meaningful existence at work to really contribute value.

Before we unpack an approach to understanding why our individual team members come to work and how to match that with what we expect from them in the workplace, let’s work through the following thoughts which some might consider as fact about all people:

  1. Everyone needs direction – we all crave knowing where we are going and why.
  2. Everyone wants to be supported, i.e. have someone in their corner.
  3. Everyone wants to belong and to be part of something bigger than themselves.

If we assume the above about all people, how could you lead differently to effect an immediate difference in your team members’ lives? As leaders, we play an enormous role in actively and passively contributing to how people connect with performing their day-to-day duties – we are able to inspire them (switch them on) and to stifle their energy (switch them off).

By providing direction through supporting and helping team members understand the role that they play in contributing to the bigger picture, they are more likely to engage wholeheartedly with true vigour and even influence others to do the same as well. This has the power to translate into a significantly positive impact on company culture and increased levels of fulfilment in the workplace.

All things aside, we all have work to do; for every fun activity, there’s the inevitable administrative activity. Working towards achieving a deeper purpose by first understanding your own purpose will improve your view on your workplace responsibilities.

One of the first required steps is to commit to adding value in real ways that the organisation cares about, which first requires understanding what the organisation needs and how this links to your life purpose. Adding this value might require you to start doing less of the same, i.e. showing up differently in support of the organisation’s needs. It will most probably require addressing key challenges which might very well be blind spots. But embracing this opportunity could very well provide the platform to change the course of your own career and ultimately shift the results you enjoy.

Encourage and empower those whom you lead to understand why the organisation exists, to recognise where it is going and to make themselves relevant. At the same time, ensure that you set the example for all to follow. After all, you have the power to inspire others to wake up tomorrow with a spring in their step and ready to contribute for more than just a pay cheque!

About the author: Marcel Pretorius is a Business Relationship Manager at TowerStone Leadership Centre.