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Four ways to help your team bring their best selves to work

‘Bring your best self to work’ is a phrase we hear often in news articles, motivational podcasts, on the recruitment section of company websites. But what does it actually mean? 

Far from being a mere nostalgic nod to the days of Oprah, the concept of ‘our best self’ reveals a significant shift in the way we think about our jobs. To bring your best self is to approach work with the best of what we have offer – our unique talents, experiences and perspectives. It’s the difference between simply going through the motions and embracing a role with determination and energy.

Experts from various fields approach the concept of ‘best self’ in various ways. Wellness advocates locate our best selves in finding a good work life balance. Psychologists often talk about a growth mindset, where having the right attitude at work leads to positive outcomes. Those who study team dynamics focus on the concept from an organisational and structural point of view.

Regardless of what perspective you take, it’s clear that workers who feel they are achieving their best are far more productive and engaged.

Below are four tips on how to help your team bring their best selves to work.

  1. Enable people to be valued and heard. Google recently shared findings from a research project the company conducted on how to build the perfect team. It was discovered an important factor is psychological safety: allowing people to be themselves by encouraging behaviours such as conversational turn-taking, empathy and hearing everyone’s point of view. People bring their best selves to work when they are valued as part of the team.
  2. Create opportunities to learn and grow. People are more likely to bring their best selves to work when they are progressing in their career goals. Part of this is having enough opportunities to learn and grow. When it comes to motivating employees, it’s worth asking: do people have opportunities to develop their skills? To improve their craft and expand their knowledge? To see mistakes as an opportunity to grow?
  3. Encourage a healthy work life balance. Creating a workplace culture that takes work life balance seriously has a significant impact on employee morale. People can’t bring their best selves to work if they are dissatisfied with (and constantly distracted by) other aspects of their life. Making time for family, friends, hobbies, fitness and mental wellbeing is pivotal in helping people work to the best of their ability.
  4. Promote healthy sleeping patterns. A recent health survey from Deloitte Access Economics shows sleep deprivation costs the Australian economy approximately $66.4 billion in lost productivity and health bills. No wonder some companies are going as far as to financially reward their employees for getting enough shut-eye. The research is clear: getting enough sleep improves productivity at work, enabling people to perform to the best of their ability. The best version of ourselves at work is a well-rested one.