Tricia Karp Tricia Karp
23 January 2015

How to get your team to give you their best

My girl, ever since she’s been asked the age-old question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” has had no problem reeling off the following:

  • A ballet teacher, and/or
  • An actor

She’ll be nine years-old this year. She knows who she is. She just knows.

The performer in her has been evident since, at the age of three, she joined in the fun of a family jug band performing at a market and did her own little tap dancing show on a timber board resting on the dirt. In a quiet way, she did it, but in front of the crowd nonetheless.

Late last year, she was selected as one of two students to speak in the school Christmas concert at the Town Hall. Standing on a step, with her head just visible above the podium, my girl spoke loudly and proudly. She wasn’t nervous. She was excited.

Kids are like that. They come into the world knowing who they are and what they’re here for and they just naturally go ahead and do it. My girl signed up for the school choir when she was five, and willingly exchanged her Friday lunchtimes to sing.

Kids just know.

Then, somehow, as life influences them in so many ways, they often forget. We forget.

By the time we choose a career path – because we have to do something – so many of us do what’s expected, and make choices based on ideals that aren’t our own.

If we’re lucky, and with enough self-awareness and courage, we’ll come back to our purpose and values and make aligned choices and decisions that fit like a glove. We’ll love what we do and it won’t ever feel like work, even if it means giving up Friday lunchtimes.

As a leader, it’s your role to embody the purpose and vision for your organisation and influence your people to get on board and make it manifest.

But what about those people? What if they’re well aware of the organisational purpose but not so sure about how it relates to them, or exactly where they fit?

What if they don’t really even know their own individual purpose, let alone how – if – it meets your organisation’s?

One of the greatest gifts you can give your people is a strong sense of purpose – for themselves as individuals, and as the collective team you’ve brought together to fulfil your vision.

It’s an investment in helping ensure they give you their best – and achieving, perhaps even surpassing, the results you seek.

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