5 ways to…cultivate a winning spirit

Sparking a work to win attitude in your team

‘Madness’ has gripped much of the nation this month, with passion running high and fans pulling together to back their teams. A little healthy competition is one way to get people fired up – and great leaders keep that enthusiasm and winning spirit fueled throughout the year.

1. Connect with their purpose.
In a survey of 200,000 employees about what motivates them to go the extra mile, only 7% said money. Good news when a raise isn’t on the cards. Instead, discuss why their work matters and how to make it more meaningful – the performance payoff will last much longer.

2. Set the bar high.
…but not out of reach. People feel most engaged when performing tasks that stretch them to the limits of their ability – but no further. But don’t just pile on the quantity; challenge people to work faster, smarter or more creatively to see them soar.

3. Remind them of the positives.
Research shows that focusing on strengths improves performance by 37%, while pointing out weaknesses decreases it by 27%. Aim for a ratio of 3:1 positive to negative feedback to keep people engaged, and make it specific: what they did, the impact it had and what it tells you about their skills.

4. Surprise them.
Every now and then, apply extra pressure – a last-minute client lunch, an unexpected presentation to deliver, inducting a new recruit. There’s nothing like a little adrenaline to keep them keen to impress.

5. Be enthused.
Energy is infectious: as a leader you set the tone for your entire team. You don’t necessarily have to be the Energizer Bunny, but show your passion in a way that’s authentic to you, in every situation.