Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Enthusiasm – the good manager’s secret weapon.

To protect my own personal wellbeing, I am sticking to the theme of positive thinking in the workplace while avoiding too many references to the UK Health and Social Care Bill.

At the CIPD Wellbeing and Resilience conference last week, several speakers touched on the effect of positive, supportive and realistic leadership and one, in particular, impressed me with her enthusiasm. Wendy Cartwright, Head of HR for the Olympic Delivery Authority, told us of the challenges in working with 200 employees and over 12000 contractors, all on limited term contracts, while trying to avoid the ‘project mentality’. Their employee engagement survey demonstrated outstanding results with 98% of respondents saying they would be happy to ‘go the extra mile at work when required’

Listening to Wendy speak and viewing her exciting slides of progress on the Olympic Park site, it was easy to see why the employees are so committed. Her enthusiasm and passion for the project was infectious, as she brought to life the British Olympic dream for 2012. Wendy spoke warmly of the previous Chief Executive, David Higgins and his dynamic leadership and energy which clearly had a direct impact on the organisation. This energy was still present in the HR team, which in any organisation can play a key role in shaping company culture and emotional intelligence.

So why is enthusiasm so important? A vision of my late but still much missed Labrador immediately springs to mind. Her pure joy at welcoming us as we returned home from work each day, bringing us her toy as a gift, tail frantically wagging, always injected a feeling of wellbeing – however rubbish the day had been!

Enthusiasm, like misery, spreads to those around it and if you have passion and drive at the top, some of it is bound to spill over.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, ‘Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm’. and one definition that I particularly like is ‘great excitement for an interest in a subject or cause’

Perhaps this blog may be of interest to the HR team of a London Primary Care Trust who, just as redundancies were being announced a few months ago, put a sign up on the closed door leading to their department ‘The HR team cannot currently accept any personal visits, as we are too busy’

Oops – there I go again – back to NHS reality……


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