You can literally feel when a team has high energy – you walk in the room and the people are buzzing. You know that they feel they can achieve anything; their enthusiasm is high; their ideas are flowing. Likewise, you can also feel an apathetic team. They slouch in their chairs, mope out of meetings, are negative about new ideas or change. You know this team will not succeed.
Energy is power, and leadership is about focusing your own energy so that you can release the energy of the team and achieve your vision. Energy enables action, and passion enables energy.
Most great leaders are inspired by, and inspiring about, the idea that what they do makes a difference, and that what they do is important. This passion is engaging and energising. Leaders with energy have huge wells of personal power, because they tap into their own passion and consciously convey that passion to all of those who follow them. They know what makes people passionate, and they understand that passion doesn’t come from numbers and targets.
The language of business is numbers, but for many of us that can be very boring. Action and commitment only follow when people feel uplifted. Too often leaders stay in the world of rational argument, rooting their calls-to-action in numbers. Making a difference, improving your results, satisfying customers, doing good – these are the things that motivate people, not numbers. To be a great leader you have to learn to communicate your passion; because passion begets action. Your passion comes from what you care about and your own belief that you, as a leader, absolutely can make a difference and that that is your job. That passion makes you feel fearless and positive, and people find that hugely energising.
Passion doesn’t have to be boisterous
Too often, I’ve seen people confuse being passionate with being boisterous and ‘shouty’ – or they let their anger, resentment or need for revenge fuel a negative passion that repels people. There is such a thing as positive energy and negative energy.
A charismatic leader knows that they not only have to be energetic, they have to ‘show energetic’. They know that members of the team are always looking at them, always taking signals from how they act. Bosses who are energetic walk and talk with energy. They take care to ensure that they energise themselves, but then they take care to make sure that they are energising their teams.
Audit your team’s energy levels
Doing an energy audit is a great place to start when working with the team. Simply ask everyone how energetic they feel on a scale of 0 to 10. Why do they feel that way? Is it personal? Or are there things the company does that make it unnecessarily hard and rob people of energy? What do they need to help them get more energised, or stay energised?
Leaders who care about energy care about how much energy their teams have and find ways to energise each and every member of the team. They show that they care about the individuals. They take care not to allow team members to exhaust themselves. They look for ways to help the team recharge their batteries. They always take time to celebrate each and every success, or each and every significant milestone. They watch for when members of the team look apathetic, and, if they do, they seek to find out why and how they can help.
In the knowledge that energy is key to success, inspiring leaders consciously model enthusiasm all the time. Even when they feel tired and listless, they fake it to make it clear to the team that energy is required to achieve the goals.
Are you an energy-giving leader or an energy-taking leader? Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you recognise that energy is critical to success?
- Do you try to be sensitive to the energy level of your team, or of individuals in the team, at all times?
- Do you consciously try to uplift and re-energise members of your team?
- Do you show energy in all that you do, even if tired?
- Do you tap into your passion to energise yourself?
- Do look after your energy levels, consciously and proactively?
For more tips, read our article on how to cultivate a good-energy attitude!
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