The fervor of our daily work bears an outsized impact on our productivity. At first blush, this statement seems too obvious for comment. But what is not obvious is where “fervor” comes from, or how to get some.
We all know what it’s like to spend a day hitting on all cylinders, the time flying by, as we move several small to medium-sized mountains. Likewise, we all know what it’s like to spend a workday in a wheelbarrow of molasses. There are evenings when I remark to my wife that I should have just gone to the movies.
Why do some people bring their A-Game to work? Another way to sate our question is: How do some people bring their A-Game to work? Literally, how do they do it?
The people who study employee motivation, engagement, and satisfaction know a great deal about this subject. They know that motivation comes from having a job that matters—a job that is making a difference. It comes from working for people you trust. It comes from seeing that there are future personal opportunities for growth that will be available from the job. And they know that worker motivation goes up when there’s a sense of friendship and caring on the job.
“I think that people behave around emotions,” says one CEO I work with. “Emotions shape behavior. Intellect certainly does as well, but I think that there’s a tremendous power in engaging emotionally with the work that you’re doing.” This CEO, like many others around the world who catalyze fervor within their teams, understands the power of human feeling. He makes sure his colleagues have a compelling human and emotional reason to care about their work—beyond an intellectual grasp of why their work matters.
“If an intellectual understanding of something were sufficient to catalyze human motivation,” the man adds, “there would be no doctors who smoke! We need to know why we should care!”
Indeed! In our training guides for Run to Great Purpose, we teach leaders how to do this, how to tie a line between the work that is done and the hearts of the workers who do it. Doing this—giving people a reason to care—is part of great leadership. We bring our A-Game because we care. We do, and the people who work for us will, too.