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How Sustainable is Your Team’s Energy?

The environment and sustainable energy has been a core feature in news for several decades now.  We are all aware that fossil fuels are a finite resource and to safely secure our future alternate, renewable energy is a must have.

Big Issue, Small Application

Yet how often do we think about our team’s energy?  We all know the feeling of being supercharged with energy and we also know the feeling of being flat.  Where is the source of this energy and how can it be made sustainable?  This blog was spurred by the following conversation overheard between two employees (paraphrased for space):

“Employee 1: I’m not having fun in work any more.  It’s just a real grind now”

“Employee 2: Well work isn’t supposed to be fun is it?  Otherwise it wouldn’t be called work”

Both employees are clearly verbalising a feeling of low energy.  Work not being fun any more.  A real grind.  One employee is clearly suffering because of it, the other seems to have come to terms with the fact that the work they do isn’t fun.

Can Work = Fun?

Employee 2’s point of view is quite common, even if it isn’t verbalised.  Fun and work are mutually exclusive.  You can’t be working and have fun, you can’t have fun if you’re working.

Without going into the detail around what counts as “work” and what counts as “fun”, the principles of Talent Dynamics would disagree with this view.  If you are doing an activity or task that you are good at, you enjoy or are trusted in, chances are you are going to feel supercharged, a state referred to as flow.  If you are in flow you will be having fun (that is not to say there won’t be pressure, that’s a different thing).

And this is the key to understanding how to ensure your team’s energy is supercharged and sustainable.  Ensure that the activities and tasks are given to the right people.  Not necessarily with the skills and experience but the ones who will enjoy it the most.  They will be super productive (even over the ones with skills and experience) and they will enjoy what they are doing.  Enthusiasm will be high and people will have more energy.

Employee 1 sounds like they used to be given the tasks and responsibilities they enjoyed but perhaps because they were so good at it, they have been promoted, moving them out of where they are trusted and away from where they found their flow.

Employee 2 sounds like they have never been given tasks they enjoyed so never experienced flow (and likely not have a high level of trust).  They have come to terms with this fact by switching off and disengaging.  They are in it for the money, not for the pleasure of a job well done or for helping their team achieve success.

Which employee would you want in your team?  How sustainable is your team?  Have you asked which tasks your team would enjoy doing?

Featured image used with thanks to Paco Cepas

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