Do you manage energy? Most of us don’t, at least not consciously. Leaders tend to manage information and influence within their network. Traditionally, leadership is associated with influencing people to do things. However, energy is a crucial resource within organizations. The fascinating thing with energy is that when you spend energy on relationships it increases. Energy is the source of action, and organizational performance!

Energy Network

Research by Baker, Cross, and Wooten (2003) shows that people can be classified as energizers or energy drains. It was also found that those who energize others are higher performers. Positive energizers tend to enhance the work of others. People who interact with or are connected to energizers also perform better.

What’s more, your position in the energy network is four times the predictor of performance compared to position in information or influence networks.
High performing firms had three times as many positive energizing networks than low performing firms.

Positive Energizers

It’s fascinating though often overlooked. When working with clients on culture change and developing a positive culture, we identify the “positive energizers”. Who are they?

Think of people who consistently demonstrate some of the following characteristics:
♦ Are open to change
♦ Are enthusiastic
♦ Tend to look for possibilities (rather than limitations)
♦ Find ways to solve problems (rather than look for objections)
♦ Think of solutions (rather than problems)
♦ Are focused on what you can achieve (rather than what you can avoid)
♦ Are active and work hard (rather than think about things endlessly)
♦ Are energetic
♦ Have a lot of ideas
♦ Do what they say (or promise) and say what they do
♦ Attract others, people who will motivate you

Energy Mapping

You can make an energy map of the organization, by asking people to rate their interaction with colleagues, or asking them to name the 2-3 others that energize, inspire and support them most. Some names appear more than others and they are the people you’d like to work with when developing a positive, productive culture.

Another way to rate energy is to ask employees to rate their energy once a week, on a scale from 1 to 10. The average of their scores shows a graph of fluctuating energy over time. It might be helpful to tie that energy graph to what happened to learn what is energizing or de-energizing.

On a congress I attended, Kim Cameron shared the example of the basketball player Shane Battier. He energized three different teams in the NBA. It worked every time he joined a team. It had to do with Shane’s interactions with others: he positively energized others.

The energy map might show a different picture than the organization chart. Associates can be the lifeblood of an organization, while high-ranked people could be de-energizers. That’s dangerous for organizations, of course. We’re wired to look at the leaders and do what they do. De-energizing leadership is a liability. Negative leaders create waste in organizations as people close their minds and stay out of sight. Micro-managers might mean well but are de-energizing just the same. It’s the dis-empowerment that makes people give up: “If you think you need to check everything or do everything better – go ahead and I’ll lean back”.

In fact, managing energy is simple. Everyone feels it, we know how to do it. But we tend to forget in our busy day-to-day frenzy.

Who are the energizers in your workplace?
How could you engage them to work (more) with you?
How could you improve your own energy and energize others?

Do you want to practice positive leadership and energize others more? Enroll in the Positive Culture Academy.

© Marcella Bremer, 2019. All rights reserved.

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