For All the Danny Downers


You want the people around you to feel up not down, hopeful not discouraged. All successful leaders energize others. But, what if you aren’t the energizing type?

Peter Senge said,

“Your primary influence is the environment you create.”

Leaders often neglect environments in favor of getting work done.

Tending personal environments:

Personal space has energy. Step in and it pulls down or lifts up. Danny Downer is a spiraling vortex of despair. An hour with him drains you. Hours later, you’re still climbing out of his dark hole. Or you’ve given up.

Edna  Energizer amps people. An hour with her boosts you. Hours later, you’re half way up the mountain with energy to spare.

We’re all climbers.

All leaders impact “the climb” of others by establishing starting places. Energizing leaders elevate starting points; low energy leaders lower them.

Successful leaders elevate starting points.

Danny Downer:

  1. Fears offending others – lives to please everyone.
  2. Imagines obstacles that can’t be solved.
  3. Knows all the reasons nothing can change.
  4. Questions abilities.
  5. Focuses on resources rather than people.

Edna Energizer:

  1. Builds and trusts the team. Danny feels alone.
  2. Takes small steps without permission. She believes it’s better to get in trouble trying things than doing nothing and staying safe.
  3. Sees obstacles but imagines progress.
  4. Learns from failure.
  5. Expects herself and others to step up.

The difference between Danny and Edna is courage.  Leadership requires courage. Danny’s a coward.

For all the Danny Downers:

  1. Admit it. You are darkness with legs. (If you’re tempted to say it’s not that bad, it is.)
  2. Confess it. Tell someone you’re a downer. Say, “I want to change.”
  3. Get help. Run – don’t walk – to energizing leaders and learn.
  4. Define energizing behaviors. Changing attitude helps but changing behaviors changes things.

Everyone feels the environment around you. Energize intentionally. The higher you start the further you’ll go.

How can leaders create personal space that energizes others?

Next week’s best leadership development opportunity is a free conference call with bestselling author, Doug Conant. Join me on March 27 at 1:00 p.m. EST.

Conference call with Doug Conant