A Spirited Worker has (only) one Core Quality.

Published by Sunil Uttam on

A Spirited Worker

So while I have already shared the first newsletter, I must define what I believe is a spirited worker before I go any further.

I started by writing words to describe a dynamic worker.

Some attributes of a spirited worker

I came up with the following for the essential qualities of a passionate worker:

– Puts Customers’ needs over the company’s needs over the Self.

– Integral

– Authentic

– A Leader

– Self Initiated

– Solution focussed

– Essence focussed

– …

And the list was not going to end soon. I kept coming up with adjectives and qualities to describe an ideal worker.

To share a few more behavioral aspects of what occurred to me:

– Undistracted

– Creative 

– Collaborative (not a solo or silo player)

– Meditative

– Empathetic


Are you getting the drift?

This didn’t feel right to me. All these seemed to be the EFFECT of a (root) CAUSE.

As a spirited worker myself ( 🙂 ), I thought I had to get to the essence, and I put a target for myself to arrive at only ONE core quality.

What a spirited work is NOT

I slept over this for several days before coming up with what I felt a spirited worker SHOULD NOT BE.


A victim, by its very definition, is 

“a person who has come to feel helpless and passive in the face of misfortune or ill-treatment.”

I always and still believe that living like a victim is just dying slowly

Situations happen, several in your control and several out of your control. 

I can lament, complain and hide in my corner, wishing the problem away or hoping that someone else will solve it.


I have the power to take action and 

  • Turn the situation into an advantage at best
  • Deal with the problem with no gain/loss or
  • Minimize the impact at worst

Learn from this, and move on.

So often, I have heard workers blame everybody but themselves for the lack of results.

  • No sales since there are not enough leads – the marketing team is not doing its job.
  • Selling is demanding now that we have new competition – we need differentiating features before we can be effective.
  • No leads since the product is not easy to understand – The content team is hatching eggs.
  • Inadequate/complex content since the product is difficult to use – the product team has to make a better UX.
  • I didn’t send the bill since I wasn’t sure what to do about the digital signature – I need clear instructions.
  • and so on.

So “my results depend on the performance of another.” 


From where I am, given what I have, if I ask myself a simple question:

“What can I do in this situation?” 

This is all that I need to get answers.

An enthusiastic worker is like an alchemist and will take whatever is given and put in a sincere effort to generate the desired outcomes. 

Thus, I thought I finally got the core of being a great worker. Not being a victim covered the list of qualities of a great worker/person I shared above.

However, I was still not happy writing this article with a negative as the essence…what a great worker should not be.

So I slept over it some more 🙂

So what is the one thing that a spirited worker IS?

I was seeking the definition of the opposite of a victim. It was eluding me until, during a lunchtime conversation with my wife, she mentioned:

“Why can’t people act like OWNERS while doing their work?”

She was a bit frustrated with the lapses of the car rental company we were dealing with for our holiday.

And then it struck me.

The core attribute of a great worker, an ideal worker, and a spirited worker is


As an owner:

  • You take the initiative to generate the desired results.
  • You collect and rally the necessary resources & teams.
  • You act with quality and diligence.
  • You do not wait for others to act. 
  • You instead lead the action.
  • You are accountable for your efforts.
  • Others can trust you and your word – integrity & authenticity becomes a way of life.

Broadly I own the WHAT and HOW of my project.

BTW An OWNER is the exact opposite of a VICTIM. (tweet this :-))

Apply this to not just work but to all of life

This applies to any part of your life. 

  • Whether you take charge of cleaning the kitchen every night OR
  • You take charge of your company’s social media channel OR
  • You assume charge of conducting a webinar OR
  • You are to review a piece of content OR
  • You are answering phone calls for your customer support OR
  • Whatever and however small or big it may be.

As an owner, you now know that the buck stops with you.

Nobody to wail to. Nobody to blame (except yourself). No excuses.

You own the projects, your life, the problems, the failures, and the success.

People who operate out of ownership are like a breath of fresh air. They are dependable, solution focussed, and an ASSET as friends, subordinates, peers, family members, and more.

So how about the company?

A recent post on LI by Dharmesh Shah of Hubspot got me thinking about what the company must do to support workers who operate from an ownership context. He mentioned we must give them autonomy. I thought that was a brilliant plug from the company’s end to complete the loop.

Ownership + Autonomy = A great worker

At Mithi, we seek out owners to handle critical projects and work hard to create an environment and support to foster this trait. We hold such teammates in very high regard. Here is a slide from the Mithi Culture Code, which talks about this:

Mithi Culture Code on Ownership

There are still many unexplored avenues…like why some people act like owners in one place of work and not the other.

We’ll discuss this more in subsequent essays.

What are your thoughts on the one thing which constitutes the essence of being a passionate worker? Please do share.

Photo by Ashley Batz on Unsplash

This post is in line with my anti-advice policy, which is to share insights and learning from my life with my friends, and associates and let them decide if and how to leverage this in their lives. I don’t have a fixed writing schedule, but I will attempt to write regularly. Surely it won’t be more often than once a week. I invite you to subscribe to my blog, connect with me and share your insights, so we can learn and grow together. 

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