MT Expert: People - Pep up your workforce

A happy team is a productive team. But how do you make sure you're getting the best out of your employees?

by Chris Barez-Brown
Last Updated: 05 Jul 2011

We’re living in an age where strikes and labour unrest suggest that far too many people have a thoroughly crappy time at work. But it’s not that it’s all bad, there are joys to be had in even the worst jobs; it’s just that the joys can be far too infrequent and out of control of the average employee.

When our souls are burdened and our passions are quelled, why on earth would we bother to bring our creative genius to benefit that of our employer? It takes effort and involves risk and therefore is much easier to keep our heads down and be a good little worker ant. No wonder few businesses get the innovation results they so desire, their people are not bringing their full selves into work.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Firstly, we all have to wake up. It’s our fault that we’re putting up with jobs that are anything but extraordinary and it’s our fault that the standards we set are painfully low. We have to strive to make a difference in our working lives and to be all we can be. We can’t count the hours and just think about the paycheque because it is a terrible waste of life.

If when you wake up you don’t jump out of bed gagging to get to work, you only have three options. One is that you accept the fact that you are merely taking up space and live for the moments on the sofa eating Doritos. Or you can wrestle your job to the ground and reshape it so that you have the opportunity to do something that you’re great and something that you love and then your natural creativity will pour forth. The last option is to walk, get out of there now and get yourself a job where you can self express and truly be who you are. You deserve it, so why settle for less?

As leaders we need to take responsibility for bringing out the absolute best in people. That means discovering their unique qualities and amplifying them in everything that they do. This is hard work and is something you are constantly trying to achieve and may never feel fully satisfied with. We need to make ourselves redundant because the talent around us is so extraordinary that we are pushed and value in new and different ways that forces us to re-evaluate our identity.

If our people do not shine and spread creative magic into all that they do, it’s our fault. Everybody has Elvis within them; everybody has a chance to be extraordinary.  We need to give them the confidence, the energy and the will to constantly drive for a better working life with more meaningful rewards and more legendary impact.

The great news is that we don’t have to have all the answers. All we need to do is declare our intention, show ourselves to being human and asked for help. If we truly listen, the answers will come to us and then maybe our Elvis will also start to shine.

Chris Barez-Brown is the author of SHINE: How to Survive and Thrive at Work, published on the 7th of July by Penguin at £9.99. Check out the funky new site here

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