Just finished reading an article that really got me to thinking about some of the amazing people I have worked with in my career. The main concept of the article was about personal energy, not nervous energy, but energy that exists because of a purpose. Some of the most low key people become amazing even heroic in their effort, collaboration and accomplishment. How does that happen? Can we encourage that behavior in everyone? Yes! But first we must change our behavior. We must become energizers and not de-energizers. If you take a moment to think about it you can probably identify many de-energizers and very few energizers. Energizing is contagious, de-energizing is VERY contagious! This is the key to changing the culture of any organization. You have to start at the top. Embrace energizing behaviors and eliminate de-energizing behavior. Here are seven steps to getting off to a good start;
1. Have a strategic approach to goal setting and get everyone involved in the process.
2. Make sure that the mission and goals are virtuous.
3. It is said that those who have no goals are doomed to work for those who do! Make sure everyone is reaching their goals. Don’t make the mistake of not showing your people how they can reach their goals by helping you reach yours. You have to really care about people, know their goals and help them reach for them, even of you end up losing good team members in the process.
4. The only real mistake that ethical people make is doing nothing. One of the most de-energizing behaviors a leader can display is to create a stressful negative atmosphere because someone made a mistake. Think about it for a second and you will realize that this person that may have made a mistake, did actually do something. Don’t de-energize them, be careful and redirect them. Don’t create an atmosphere where your team members are afraid to DO something for fear of embarrassment. Negative behavior from the leader can and will de-energize the whole group or organization.
5. Make sure you acknowledge and praise energetic and engaged performance and seriously consider replacing habitual de-energizers. Big egotistical negative energy can be too contagious to keep around.
6. Be sincere. We humans have an uncanny ability to sense “lip service.” The perception of sincerity is a matter of trust. Trust in the leader must be defined and guarded. When a leader is no longer trusted the energy can actually turn negative. If you sense this in your organization, it’s time for a reset! Find out where you lost it and commit to earning in back! make sure to follow through with your commitment. We all make mistakes, your trust meter will rise just for admitting to your mistakes, apologizing, making the commitment to change and following through on you commitment. Isn’t that what we really want from others in whom we have lost trust? Sounds like a definition for integrity.
7. How can you have energy if your not healthy? A thriving organization or organism for that matter, is moving in the right direction. When an organization starts to move in the wrong direction and the “turnaround” process begins, you start thinking about things like cutting costs, increasing revenue and layoffs. Energy starts to develop but usually in negative ways. The result can be positive for the short term but, unless you convert the negative energy to positive energy the organization will slip back into the old rut. Start producing positive energy today and you may avoid the cyclical downturns many organizations experience.
Focusing on “energy” tends to make you focus on people as “people” and not costs. Controlling cost ls important, but don’t fall into the trap of obsessing over “maximizing short-term profits” and no longer invest in your future, your people, your family and your country. This is the status quo for American big business today. Pursue true happiness my friends.