13 Ways to Spot Energy Draining Blood Suckers
Blood sucking people, like parasites, suck the life out of you.
Successful leaders energize. Lousy leaders drain.
The neglected skill of leadership is managing energy.
4 powers of energy:
- Energy predicts the future.
- Energy provokes action.
- Energy produces results.
- Energy prescribes direction.
Energy draining bloodsuckers:
- Use I, me, and mine like Chinese water torture.
- Throw tantrums when they don’t get their way. They use stink, like giant babies, to punish anyone who resists them. You give them what they want just to make them stop.
- Give the monkey on their back to some unsuspecting, unfortunate soul.
- Accuse others and protect themselves. They scurry for cover like cockroaches when the lights come on.
- Pout unless the spotlight shines on them.
- Refuse to act on their own. They always need permission, approval, and guidance.
- Need to win regardless of the issue. They walk away with satisfied grins when the last nail is driven in your coffin.
- Won’t take no for an answer. They make pit bulls look like pussy cats.
- Don’t know what “give me some space” means. They’re relentlessly in your face.
- Nitpick every detail. They seldom ship it because they’re always perfecting it.
- Darken every environment they enter. The challenge of leadership is seeing problems without becoming a self-absorbed black hole.
- Create drama. Everything’s a crisis to a parasite.
- Need more. The more you give a parasite, the more they need.
Bonus: Most blood suckers believe the sucking sound that surrounds them comes from others.
Energy as evaluation:
- What de-energizes? You can’t sustain constant drain.
- What energizes? Follow the energy.
- What’s your energy level as it relates to current projects?
- How can you elevate low-energy situations?
Use the list of de-energizers to determine how to energize others. Leaders who energize others _________.
How do you deal with energy draining blood suckers?
Dan, I like this. I am wondering if someone has tips to help leaders avoid being those bloodsuckers. Also, I believe I have seen these traits in some staff and a similar impact on their leaders. How do we re-energize a team that is being drained by the “I” “me” person?
Thanks Donna. Great questions.
I’m convinced we can re-energize individuals and teams. That’s what leadership is about. Here are a few ideas.
Start talking about wins, progress, and small successes. Many of us focus too much on problem solving and neglect celebrating wins.
Affirm positive behaviors more than correcting bad ones. Pointing out what is right as much as you point out what is wrong.
It always amazes me that we are shocked at the negative environment we live in but all we do is talk about bad stuff.
I don’t mean to suggest that we should bury our heads in the sand and pretend.
Openness also helps. Find some allies and talk about the importance of energy and explore ways to increase it.
Monitor your interactions and ask yourself if, after the interactions end, people are energized or de-engergized.
Just some random thoughts…best for the journey.
This is wonderful Dan!
An inspiring and empowering message about the role each of us can play, in helping to elevate energy where it is waning and shed light in the dark
Thanks for the humbling reminder that the first person we should be holding accountable is ourselves!
Thanks Lori. Your comments often energize me. I respect how you take leadership ideas to heart.
Smile and perceive, their is light at the end of the tunnel!
Tell yourself I can do this! Elevation comes with a wide view of what transcends from start to finish, accomplishing the tasks to complete a solution for everyone, although the “blood suckers” get moved to the back of the pack if they persist! Their value decreases as they drain the resources with no returns!
Thanks Tim. I love your first word, smile!
Blood suckers are everywhere. They sprout when people and surrounding support them. It is easy and difficult both to root them out. It is easy when superiors or management have enough guts and courage. It is difficult when they start supporting it. Blood suckers are weak people and have hidden motives. Since they are not competent enough, they find blood sucking as their means to achieve what they want. People fuel them when pay listen them.
Dealing needs multiple approach. One approach is not enough. As an individual, one needs to send strong signal to them. Rather than paying attention, one should object and question their intention. Management should fix accountability for what they say and what do. These creatures flourish because they are not accountable for what they do to others. Management should encourage others to increase communication and interaction. Blood suckers enjoy in space created between management and employees. It is always ideas to bridge or minimize the space.
Proper allocation of task with proper accountability can root out problem to maximum extent. I recall one incident where superiors used to take signature of junior officer, who was not aware about the bad intention of the manager. Finally, when scam emerged, it was officer who signed was caught. Nothing was in the record against manager. Since there was no proper allocation of roles, and accountability. Moreover, practices were different. Accountability can deal the problem effectively.
The more toxic the environment … the more bloodsuckers come out to feed on the few that hold their integrity.
Thanks Dr. Gupta. I feel passion in your comment. I particularly enjoyed your observation that blood suckers live in the space between managers and employees. The more connected we are the less we give blood suckers a chance to do their dirty work.
This is great Dan. Any suggestions about how to deal with them? It gets draining dealing with staff like this. I know I should stay positive. Would love some tips!
Thanks Maria. I wrote a few random ideas that might relate to your question in a comment above to Donna. Best…
Great post… wondering why more ‘leaders’ don’t get it… Draining my energy with their drama doesn’t make me more productive….
Thanks Cdreamgirl. Isn’t it odd that leaders believe criticism and negativity magically produce energy and positivity?? 🙂
As a recovering bloodsucker I can tell you the best approach is to keep them accountable, focus them on what they can change and control and never, ever give in. Establish what’s acceptable from what’s not – and hold them and everyone else around them (including yourself) to it. If you create an environment that allows the bloodsuckers in, don’t be surprised if they stay!
If there is any glimmer of hope with them, stay with them. They will be thankful and loyal. But if they don’t want to work at it, let them go be petulant somewhere else.
I totally concur with this. I’ve seen bloodsucker leaders that spin their teams in a million directions and sometimes in doing so even put two different people on the same task by accident with no cross coordination. I challenge those folks to get all the projects on one piece of paper, prioritize them in a consistent and transparent way and then encourage everyone to ask “OK, so which of the other existing projects will be getting deprioritized for this new one?”
Blood suckers are pretty much everywhere you go, especially in highly populated third world countries where each individual is expected to substitute the work of 3 employees. One would be really lucky to find an amazing mentor in the form of a boss or a manager, otherwise, the only way I think to get rid of a blood suckers is to become a boss yourself and show the way to others that there are good and ethical ways to get work from employees.
Thanks Dan- another thoughtful post!
I love the line “Accuse others and protect themselves. They scurry for cover like cockroaches when the lights come on.”
Bloodsuckers seem to thrive in the fertile ground, between responsibility and accountability.
Closing that gap ( keeping the light on!), should go along way to eliminating drama and excuse as a hiding place for non-performing blood suckers.
Bloodsuckers are the weeds that grow in the dark, and can threaten an organization not properly tended to with adequate accountability. It is a leaders responsibility to eliminate the conditions that enable bloodsucking weeds to grow, and cultivate healthy organizational “soil” ( accountability culture), so that strong performers can thrive.
Full disclosure- I have been on both sides of this divide!-
Accountability is not only essential for a healthy, thriving organization- it can, at times, make the difference between effective individual performance and blood sucking.
Have a great day!
Over time I think I have found five ways to deal with bloodsuckers:
1. Assign them to a solo project that requires a lot of time and effort, and hold them to strict deadlines. If they are by themselves, and entirely accountable for what they do, then they have to perform or fail.
2. Do not avoid conflict. When an issue arises, even if it seems small, deal with it if it looks like a trend or precursor for something worse. It’ll make your life easier in the future.
3. Have regular mentor and/or coaching meetings. Yes, this takes a lot of time, but if you meet with someone regularly, you’ll get to know them much better and will learn how they work. It’ll make it easier to address things in the future. Plus, you are more likely to know if it is simply a phase due to bad circumstances, or if it is their character.
4. Fire them.
5. Take the time and really find the best qualified candidates for positions that also show volunteer work or involvement that shows more than simply self-interest. People with resumes that have career-only information are more likely to be self-absorbed and have a higher propensity for bloodsucking. Whereas those with more volunteer work, involvements with charities, and even customer-service (not sales) awards are much more likely to be good team players.
I hope these help!
A really powerful suggestions. I appreciate the steps suggested. Accountability, deadlines, course of actions are crucial. The moment they become fearful, purpose is solved.
Glad I could help!
This post was right on point. The hardest thing is telling someone that they are the blood sucker; the tantrums are multiplied by 100 and the denial process is ridiculous! However, if you can get someone to come to the realization that they are a drain on the team it is well worth the effort. Thanks again for this post.
So. Very. True. So many leaders afraid to build their people up, instead leaving them “bloodless,” unappreciated, and unmotivated! Great article!
A pretty valuable insight,thanks
Great post! Thank you!!!
Silly question: how would u define “energy”
Thanks Steve. Energy from a leadership point of view is the power or resolve to take action. In addition, its an optimistic approach to opportunities, challenges, or relationships. Those who drain energy lower a teammates resolve or power to take action. The result of energy drain is discouragement and/or pessimism.
Thanks for asking. Hope this helps.
Love this, very well written and helpful