Watching people as they enter the workplace at the beginning of the workweek gives you one view of organizational morale. Watching them as they leave at the end of the week gives you a different perspective. That’s why both questions are included as significant questions to ask.
What you’re really asking with this question is What does our work environment do to your spirit? This is a question asked by brave leaders. The answer you’re looking for goes something like this. "Let me think. At the end of the week I’m exhausted and exhilarated. Some weeks it’s more one than the other, but it’s always a combination of both." Exhaustion means that a person has given their all when they do their work. Exhilaration means that they believe that their work has meaning and that they have derived satisfaction from doing it.
The answers you’re apt to get when you ask this question might be very different from the one I outlined. In fact, the answer you get to this question might be an uneasy giggle followed by silence, a confused look with a mumbled "Why do you care," or a blunt "It’s none of your business." Those answers tell you a lot, too. Leaders ignore the spirit in their workplace at their own peril. Don’t ask this question unless you intend to take action to change the status quo.
Before you turn the page, allow me to ask you a quick question: How do you feel at the end of your workweek? Do the words "exhausted" and "exhilarated" play a part in your answer?