Spirit at Work: What is it? How do we get it?

Spirit at Work or Esprit de Corps is usually used to describe good morale in the military, but can easily be assigned to the good feelings engendered in any group or team aspiring to accomplish something significant. What are the key components that go into creating a spirited work environment where members feel aligned and ready to do what it takes to be excellent?

The first component is to have a common and compelling vision of a service or product that all members of your team can rally around, invest in and be inspired by. This vision is continually evolving and is sensitive to the needs of the marketplace, one’s customers, the competitive environment and the individuals and culture of your organization.

Secondly, what are the bedrock values of your organization? Only after you have done the deep work of ascertaining the values that will drive you forward in good times and bad do you have a chance to create a workplace culture that will attract high performers who resonate with your vision and values and who will bring the full power of their potential to their work each day.

The third component of Spirit at work is having a team composed of individuals who are internally motivated to excel and serve with extraordinary dedication. This quality I like to call “Fire in the Belly!” and it is something that cannot be taught. Someone either has it or they don’t. “Hire for attitude, train for knowledge!” is the motto that has served me well over the years as I have put high performance teams together.

Next is having what Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, calls having the right people in the right seats on the bus. Being able to assess someone’s capabilities and tendencies in order to give him or her the right job and support is key. There are many personality and temperament tests such as Myers/Briggs, StrengthFinders and DISC that help reflect where someone will excel.

Solid communication of what is expected of the team and individuals is essential to manifesting spirit at work as well. New workers need more monitoring and direction while more experienced individuals can be given more latitude and responsibility. Conversely, new, younger employees don’t usually come with a lot of poor habits and baggage, while more seasoned employees can have bad as well as good habits fully engrained that are hard to change.

Lastly, smart, competent, self-driven team members like to surround themselves with other intelligent and accountable individuals so hire smart and then be sure that relevant and inspiring training and development opportunities are offered on a regular basis to all team members. Smart, engaged employees always want to up their game in regards to skills, capabilities and taking advantage of growth and career expansion opportunities.

Best of success in capitalizing on these key components to creating a team and organization that exemplifies Spirit at Work!

Jonathan Wygant is Chairman and founder of BigSpeak, Inc. the largest business-oriented speakers bureau, focused on serving the Fortune 1000 and multinational companies worldwide.  When he’s not brainstorming with other members of the Big Team or working on personal development, he can often be found golfing, volunteering, and spending time with his family.