Think of a nourishing environment where you feel valued. Where you’re able to:
- be your best, most creative self;
- where you can use your strengths;
- where your input is solicited;
- where you jump out of bed in the morning looking forward to beginning your day;
- where you’re able to collaborate with others to solve problems;
- where you gain energy;
- where you see the value in others’ contributions.
- Now think of an environment where you feel frequent stress:
- where you are overly cautious about what you say and do;
- where decisions don’t align with your values;
- where you distrust some of the people around you, not sure if they are putting their best interests above yours.
Which environment encourages you to go the extra mile to ensure business objectives are met and results are attained? Obviously, you would prefer to be in the first environment. The reality is that too many people are operating in the second one.
They’re trying to perform work that doesn’t match their purpose or working in an environment that doesn’t value their strengths.
Over the past year, I’ve spoken to more than a few leaders who are experiencing frustrations in their work environment. They feel:
- Loss of control or influence on the right outcomes in their groups.
- Unsure of their options to make a difference when everything they’ve tried to date hasn’t worked.
- Stressed by navigating their career within the organizational politics and issues.
- Like they’re just putting in time until retirement.
- At the mercy of their senior leaders’ decisions which they don’t understand or agree will bring the best results.
- Silenced, because speaking up doesn’t help.
- A desire to work in their area of specialty, but unfulfilled because their contribution doesn’t seem valued.
Their work environment is sapping their strength and draining energy. It’s become toxic to them. They work for companies who post their values on the walls, pretty words with a brief statement of what they mean; but they don’t see the same words exhibited in the hallways, meetings and other interactions. Or they try to fit in to a role with a great title and comp package that doesn’t align with their passions. And, inside they’re struggling emotionally.
The one common question that keeps coming back to me is “How would these organizations benefit if the leaders and team members worked in a nourishing environment?”
There are two important factors in creating a nourishing environment. First, having the right people and second ensuring they’re in the right place. Or to frame it differently, having the right cultural fit.
Leaders who want to create a nourishing environment pay attention to four key elements.
- They understand their team members’ strengths and skill sets; and know what gives them meaning.
- They value their team members’ emotional needs and passions; and know what makes them feel engaged with others.
- They link this information to the business needs; and know what work needs to be performed and connect them to the right projects.
- They recognize and reward team members; and reaffirm their importance to the organization.
Each requires ensuring the right alignment between needs of the team and results of the organization. Lack of focus on these areas negatively impacts productivity and profits.
By now you’ve heard about your friends’ new year’s resolutions, probably made a few of your own and hopefully spent time reflecting on what you want to accomplish in the next twelve months, or the next decade. Each new year, like each new day, week or month, brings an opportunity to reset, start again, clarify your goals and make a plan to accomplish them.
My new year’s commitment is to help individuals and organizations create the most productive environments, where team members’ purpose is aligned with company objectives. Make your own commitment to create a nourishing environment for your team, so that they can grow and become their best selves in the new year.