12 Ways to Quickly Energize Your Environment
Darkness prevails when you neglect positive energy.
Millions of dollars are spent on energizing employees, but energy remains low.
Focused energy is engagement.
Energy goes up when you tend it and cools when you neglect it.
12 ways to quickly energize your environment:
- Dedicate yourself to create positive environments. Great results come from positive energy. Name three things you’re doing today to ignite, fuel, or manage energy. All it takes is neglect for darkness to win.
- Get people talking about things that work. Just ask,
- What’s working?
- What do you enjoy?
- What do you love about your job?
- Give people five minutes, at the beginning of a meeting, to talk about a project that excites them. Cheer when they’re done. Tip: bring in someone from another department.
- Monitor the impact of your leaders and managers on energy levels. You can watch energy drain from the room when energy vampires start talking. Reform or remove vampires. If you can’t do either, marginalize them.
- Evaluate the impact of your presence. Are people energized when you’re around?
- Go with your highest point of clarity. Confusion drains energy. Tip: Forget about 100% clarity.
- Grasp the fact that complaining doesn’t feel good. You may do it more than you realize.
- Do more than ask for things. If all you do is ask for things, people hate seeing you walk into the room.
- Decide what progress looks like, before you begin the journey.
- Establish direction and collaborate on how to get there. People feel powerful when they participate in the process, even if they don’t get everything they want.
- Lift people out of the weeds so they can reconnect with the big picture. “Let’s talk about where we’re going.
- Give people as many choices as possible, as long as they know where the ship is going.
How might leaders ignite, fuel, monitor, or manage energy?
Great post Dan! I absolutely love “If all you do is ask for things, people hate seeing you walk into the room.” I am going to quote you on that one often!
Thanks Sarah. It’s an easy habit to slip into. 🙂
Great post, thank you for sharing! There are pieces in here that I can use right away and in the new school year to come.
Thanks Shelley. It’s great to be useful. Best for the journey.
Excellent choice of topics, Dan.
The greatest motivator for members of a group is sharing a common goal that is aligned with personal values, and being able to observe the consequences, good or bad, of each member’s contribution.
When there is lack of value alignment, people don’t contribute. When they don’t share a common goal, they don’t contribute. When their job is lost in the shuffle, or there are sufficient and abundant resources, social loafing and apathy occurs.
I recently ran into a person I had worked with in a startup that ran out of funds due to mismanagement, even though it had a really good purpose and a viable future. The person I spoke to had found a job in a very large telecommunications company, but told me that although the new job had great security and good benefits, it was hard going to work. When I asked why, the person told me “When I was working for (name withheld startup), we had a purpose. I was contributing to doing something good for the world. Now I’m useful in the company, but it’s not the same. I come into work and don’t feel I’m as effective”. This was one of the highest performing people I’ve known, probably still functioning at a high level compared to peers in the new role, but wanting to do more.
To energize a team, the task of the leader includes: 1) Identifying and articulating the common goal, and continuously pointing to it while modeling performance with persistence and humility 2) Getting the right people on the team, ensuring they are sufficiently trained and compatible, and ensuring their job responsibilities allow them to see the results of their efforts 3) Encouraging input on means and methods, but maintaining rigorous focus on the common objective 4) Ensuring the simplest effective communication mechanisms focused on the goal, with less focus on record-keeping and rigid processes unless they are essential to achieving that goal 5) Imparting a sense of urgency by ruthlessly removing resources not devoted to the common goal, celebrating each victory, and persisting through difficulty. 6) Taking a personal interest in each person on the team, and making sure they know they are really valued as people first, and employees second.
Thanks Marc. You had me from the opening paragraph of your comment.
I think the personal values component of energy is often neglected. We set goals but we don’t spend enough time finding alignment between personal values and organizational objectives. It’s a fatal flaw when it comes to energy.
Thanks for adding value.
I really appreciate you pointing out that doing nothing allows for energy drain. I think it might be helpful to think of it as ongoing friction that has to be overcome. And some things increase the friction, like:
– bigger company/dept size (harder to feel connected)
– not being in the same office location (remote workers)
– heavy on the introvert makeup
– drab/strict office environment (boring colors, no plants, no character, no fun)
– Businessey business attitudes
greasing agents might be:
– doing good in your community as a team
– nerf guns and/or lego stations to unwind
– old school show & tell
– offer to allow direct reports to add one silly item (PG rated) to your office for character (short term or in cycles) on a recurring basis
– Discuss a casual news item and ask what we might learn from it as people or a business (don’t disconnect from the real world)
Thanks James. I’m glad your focusing on the idea that loss of energy is often just a matter of neglect. Energy, left to itself, cools.
Love you contribution of the idea of friction and grease. Very helpful.
Great topic and list Dan. I would respectfully add that a way to fuel energy is to insure that your employees understand how their specific job responsibilities contribute to and are necessary for the overall success of the business. If they cannot make that connection then it’s just a job so how can they be engaged?
If WordPress allowed us to rate answers with stars, I’d give your answer a 5, Don.
Thanks for being a source of encouragement to others!
Thanks Don. Where do I fit in? It’s pretty difficult to make significant contribution until we know where and how we fit in. Thanks again, Don.
An interesting and inspiring post!
Good analysis of the ways leaders energize work environment. I may add – Bring in some competitive spirit among the followers and instill a zeal to try new ideas with creativity.
People enjoy their work once they have a feeling of oneness and a common goal to achieve following the visionary leader.
Thank you Dr. Asher. I particularly like the idea of “Let’s try things,” or as you say, “a zeal to try new ideas.”
It’s pretty easy to quench the spirit of innovation by being negative about new ideas. Thanks.
Number 6 resonates with me. I work in an environment with a higher than normal level of uncertainty (R&D) and we often need to remind ourselves to be comfortable with the uncertainty, just go with the 80/20 rule and have fun with the 20 versus fearing the 20.
Thanks Rob. Glad you picked up on this one. I’ve seen so much wasted effort go into an unreasonable or unnecessary search for certainty. The idea of try and learn as you go also applies.
I’ve used the “highest point of clarity” to move the ball forward many times, when teams or people feel stuck. Just let people talk it out for a bit and then ask, “What’s your highest point of clarity?” Follow up with, “What can be done, with that in mind?
The highest point of clarity also works in tough or controversial situations. We get lost and stall on the fringes. But, we can make some progress when we come back to this idea.
I suppose you could as, “What is your point of highest confusion,” and then say, let’s set that aside for awhile.
This is a great topic. #11 resonated with me. So often we are hung up down in the weeds that we forgot about why we’re doing what we’re doing. So often we don’t understand or see how our small little piece impacts the bigger mission. Leaders are vital in ensuring the connection to the big picture.
Thanks Lucille. Frankly, anytime you throw someone a rope and lift them out of the weeds for so they can look around, you give them a great gift. Glad you enjoyed!
Good morning Dan;
Sad, ‘but true’, “Organizations DO spend Millions on trying to ‘Energize’ Employee’s, yet energy levels remain low.”
Energy level, inspiration, enthusiasm, Espirit-de-corps, call it what you will, “is easier to attain and maintain when Leadership set’s the example and purposefully permits positivity and encouragement to flow from the top down.
Every organization has it’s problems. Problems that are ignored are problems that grow. But making problems your main focus is a problem in itself. When addressing problems becomes ‘THE’ Top-Priorty of an organization oportunity, growth, innovative idea’s, and outside the box thinking disappear. Unfortunately these positive attributes are quickly replaced by negativity, apprehension, and a general lack of enthusiasm. I’m certainly not suggesting we ignore problems. Simply give them the time & attention they require to resolve, THEN MOVE ON TO THE POSITIVE THINGS . . .
Leaders, convey your vision, or mission to your people in such a way that every member of the team understands the Ultimate Goal and expectations from beginning to end. Connect with your people, get to know them, allow them to get to know you. “People DON’T trust, follow, or, get inspired by people they don’t know.” Set a positive example and be consistent.
Do this and empower your people with decision making authority and you’ve created an enviroment where Positivity will take precidence over Negativity. “Thats how people and organizations flourish!”
“Good one today my freind.”\
Thank you SGT. “Every organization has it’s problems. Problems that are ignored are problems that grow. But making problems your main focus is a problem in itself.” You said a real mouthful.
We can’t forget that little nugget toward the end of your comment. “empower people with decision making authority…” Telling people what to do, doesn’t ignite energy, except during crisis when leaders step up and give clear direction.
Quoting: “Establish direction and collaborate on how to get there.” Oh, how important the collaboration is!!! And of course, that collaboration should include considering suggestions from anyone that the direction be refined (because…).
And the tip in #6 is priceless. Nothing wrong with 100% in any discussion – as long as everyone remembers it’s an ideal, never to be accomplished!!! (And as we know, we wouldn’t know even if we happened to stumble upon it.)
Thanks John. I find that people enjoy working on how to get there, once they know where “where” is. But, they’re frustrated when you ask for their input when the destination is fuzzy.
Re: #6: I’ve wasted way too much time searching for perfect clarity when I should have just moved forward.
I can resonate with #12 very well and couldn’t agree more!
All people/coworkers deserve a second and sometimes even third and fourth chances, as long as “they know where the ship is going”.
This is very helpful. My little team has become even smaller due to cut-backs. I am watching the energy drain from everyone, and it is pulling our ship off course. For the first time since I’ve managed this group, they are not happy to see me when I walk into a room, it is a disheartening change. I am hopeful that some of this advice will help.
HI Dan, I love this…. I think many supervisors miss the fact that they really set the tone. “Neglect” is a common issue that is so easy for people to fall into. Thanks!
More power to positive energy!