Andrew Cox asked:
Leaders know high energy individuals, workgroups and organizations create success. How to create and sustain that high energy is the key challenge leaders face every day.
The following behaviors and beliefs are keys that leaders we have worked with have found work to achieve consistent high energy with their people.
Leaders start with the belief that commitment unleashes energy and that compliance reduces energy. To the extent that their people feel committed to the goals of the organization, they will work harder, produce more and accomplish more than any group of people waiting to be told what to do. Compliance keeps people waiting for direction – it keeps them asking ” What do you want me to do now?”
Leaders share knowledge and information, they don’t hoard it. They want their people to know how things are going. They believe 90% of their people can handle the truth, but that 100% of their people are turned off by half truths and secrecy. Leaders practice the exact opposite of the “if knowledge is power, than the sharing of knowledge is a reduction in power” behavior of high control managers.
Leaders work with their people to create goals that align with the organization’s goals. Then they keep the goals as simple as possible and work to have their people align their personal goals with the goals of the organization. And they fight to keep the goal process as simple and free of bureaucratic stuff as possible. They want goals to create energy, and not have process destroy it.
When leaders think they’ve communicated enough – they know they need to communicate more. Effective communication creates energy.
Leaders protect the time of their people. There are always distractions that can take the energy out of any endeavor. Leaders keep their people protected from the low value, time and energy eating things that invariably show up. Just as individuals need to keep their eye on the few important things, so must leaders keep their eye on the same few important things,
Leaders define what having “your eye on the ball ” means. The purpose of goals – solid, real goals focused on contribution and accomplishment – keep the main things the main things – and make it easier for everyone to be energized and focused.
Leaders know action creates energy – lack of action sucks the energy out of any enterprise. Ever been in a restaurant when it’s not busy? Bad time to be there – you might expect the best service and the best food, but it rarely works out that way. Come back when the place is really busy – and see a high level of service and energy and focus. Focused busy has a power all its own.
Leaders have high expectations of all their people – and they hold them to their expectations. Nothing is more demoralizing and sapping of energy than to have a manager indicate by words or actions that not much is expected. And guess what? When that belief is communicated – not much is accomplished. Nobody ever did anyone a favor by telling them to “take it easy.”
Leaders demand that their people know what their contribution to the enterprise is and how it is measured, and how they are doing. And not just at the annual performance review. Leaders hold performance reviews all the time.
Leaders know the more open and communicative their behavior, the more authority, power and energy they and their people have. High control managers, on the other hand, fail to see that, and hold as much power as possible to themselves, and in doing that, they actually cede power to others, and don’t tap the potential energy of their people.
Leaders protect the energy of their people from the negative 5 percent that show up – in even the best organizations. They protect them by taking swift action to either remediate the negative behavior, or, failing that, by getting rid of the negative 5 percenters. And not by simply palming them off on the next manager or leader.
Leaders incorporate these beliefs and behaviors into their every day work and play. They know that anything that requires constant special attention to keep going will fail. Only imbedded behaviors and beliefs have lasting value.
Review the behaviors and beliefs that leaders have shared in this article, and see where you can add to your impact and create more energy with your people – and the people around you. Do it through action – today.