Nourish Your Core and Excel

Leaders exponentially increase their teams' performance when they nourish the value-driver that sits at the core of each team member's Spiritual Fingerprint. I explain and demonstrate this idea in Lead By Greatness. The value-drivers that lie at the core of people's Spiritual Fingerprints can be very different from one another and they certainly might be different from the leader's own core value-driver.

A reader wrote to me today with a practical question: What can one do if after mapping ones Spiritual Fingerprint he discovers that his supervisor is unable or unwilling to nourish the value-driver that sits at the core of his Spiritual Fingerprint? Consider for example, an employee who needs to be recognized and encouraged up front in order to maximize her contribution, but her supervisor is of the belief that recognition needs to be earned. Without the recognition at the outset, the employee loses confidence and motivation, and could possibly enter into a spiral of diminishing performance. What should such an employee do?

So here are two guidelines: Firstly, it is very difficult to map your own Spiritual Fingerprint without the help of an experienced coach. Of the thousands of Spiritual Fingerprints I have seen, I have yet to see a mapping attempted by an individual that hasn't changed significantly after it was examined and tested by a coach. So before you get into a tizzy about the implications of a particular aspect of your Spiritual Fingerprint, best check its accuracy and authenticity. In this person's case the need for recognition may actually not be her core value-driver; in fact it may not be one of her value-drivers at all. Her need for recognition may simply be a function of her insecurity on which she needs to work quite separately and which has nothing to do with her supervisor. She could work on it by identifying her true value-drivers, mapping her real Spiritual Fingerprint and learning how to shift her behaviors from reactive insecurity to proactive value choices driven by her Spiritual Fingerprint and higher Purpose.

Secondly, assuming this person's need for recognition really is the core of her Spiritual Fingerprint and is a strongly held belief of hers, then she absolutely does need to nourish it. However it is not always possible to depend on your supervisor to nourish you at the core. This piece in Lead By Greatness is directed at the leader rather than at the employee: "If you are a leader, then nourishing people at their core will yield exponential results in energy, motivation and measurable performance." It's just a sensible leadership strategy. If you are the employee, though, who needs to be recognized up front and is not getting that recognition, your choice is either to find a leader who does nourish you at the core, or to find other sources of nourishment. These other sources can be spouses or partners, friends, or a mentor in your organization even if he or she is not your direct supervisor. Be cautious though not to seek the approval you crave and are not getting, from people to whom your supervisor reports. You could be seen as political and manipulative.

Thirdly, attempt to have a conversation with your supervisor explaining to him or her how your Spiritual Fingerprint is constructed and what this means. Explain the step by step build-up of how you mapped your Spiritual Fingerprint and how much more effective you are when your need for recognition is nourished. Show him or her how you interact with other people this same way, and what results you have seen. A conversation like this one can be difficult if your supervisor has had no prior exposure to the idea of Spiritual Fingerprints. When our coaches and facilitators work with teams, this process emerges very naturally and releases boundless, untapped reservoirs of innovation and human energy. It is often not easy to achieve these same results without external facilitation. So in short:

  1. Map your own Spiritual Fingerprint.
  2. Be sure you have done so accurately.
  3. Check how effectively your supervisor is nourishing you at the core, or whether with some open conversation he or she could do so more effectively.
  4. If not, consider finding a different leader under whom to work. Alternatively, have some open conversations with trusted family, friends and mentors, explain your Spiritual Fingerprint and why (in the example above) recognition is so important to you at your core. Share with them that this is something you need and would appreciate from your relationship with them.
Often we don't get what we need only because we fear asking for it. Be courageous. Expose some vulnerability and disclose to people who care about you what you most need from them. They almost always respond beyond anything you expect.  

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