Do you give your team energy or do you drain them of energy? Is your team glad to see you coming or do they dread times with you? Are you tuned in to the energy cues from your people or are you so busy focused on your agenda, your message, and your own voice that you are missing something vital to every organization’s success – energy!
Energy is the force that moves something forward. We know most about energy from the sciences such as physics but there is a social science force of energy at work in your organization.
I remember the day my core leadership team asked me to stop sending emails on Sunday. I had developed a habit of jump-starting my workweek on Sunday afternoon. I was feeling great about it but I didn’t realize the negative impact it was having on my leaders. You see, I am at the empty nest stage of life and most of my leaders still have young children at home. Sundays were family days and when I sent the emails, they felt I was saying to them “get to work.” I was so glad they told me. I made a few adjustments: I still jump-started my week on Sunday evening, but didn’t send my leaders emails until early Monday morning.
Are you energizing your people or do you drain them? Here are five examples of each to help you decide.
The Energizing Leadership Types
1. Proactive Leader
Proactive leaders stay are calm during a crisis, seek to find a solution, and to learn from the challenge. They try to teach and learn through the process so their organizations are stronger and healthier. Their first reaction is: “We have an organizational problem and I own the problem. How can I help?” This is also the leader who invites others to speak into their leadership. They seek first to understand.
2. Emotionally Intelligent Leader
This is the leader who is self-aware of the power of emotion, aware of their own emotions, and seeks to approach situations consistently. They understand they need to get the emotion under control to lead effectively. They have set a course for strategic success and they don’t react to challenges by unsettling their people, nor do they dwell on problems.
3. Clear Leader
This is the leader who often and with consistency reminds their organization of the “why” of the organization. They clearly state the mission and vision (a compelling image of success) to their people. Everyone in the organization knows why they do the work they do. Everyone feels a part of the team and knows the work they do contributes to the success of the mission. The force of the organization’s energy is all going in one direction.
4. Responsible Leader
This is a leader who believes in their mission, vision, strategy and people. They believe that their people come to work everyday wanting to be successful in the work they do. When a problem happens, they lead the way to find the solution, owning responsibility for the overall success and health of their team. They see the problem as first an organizational problem, and seek to find the solution as a way to learn, teach, and help develop the organization to be stronger.
5. People-Oriented Leader
This is the leader who is actively engaging with others on the team asking questions and listening to solutions. They are aware of culture (how work is done) and are strategically creating a culture of people engagement. They know ultimately, their organizations success is centered on the people. They find ways to get feedback as a regular part of their leadership. Whether formally (surveys) or informally through walking around, they want and value hearing from their leaders and their team.
The Exhausting Leadership Types
1. Reactionary Leader
Leaders, who are quick to anger, look for the person to blame when there is a problem, and takes conflict or criticism personally. Their first reaction is: “Someone is responsible, someone is to blame.” When the reactionary leader hears criticism, they are usually ready to attack, are defensive, and see the criticism as someone being disloyal.
2. Emotional Leader
This is the leader who uses emotions to lead and people never know what leader they will get or why. One day the leader is angry, then happy, and then frustrated, then encouraging. One day things are going great and the next day the sky is falling. People pull back because they are always uncertain. Way too much energy is used trying to figure out the emotional state of the leader!
3. Confused Leader
This is the leader who changes leadership direction or message based on the last book or article read, the last person they talked to, or the last problem they faced. They change directions often and keep their teams unsure of which direction to go or how to define success. Energy is wasted as people try to figure it out on their own.
4. Blaming Leader
If there is a problem, it is someone’s fault and this leader is quick to place the blame on someone else. This leader may blame their boss, a direct report, or someone else on the team. They think the problem would be solved if that person were removed. This will cause people and teams to become risk averse and personal energy will be wasted by fear and lack of trust.
5. One-Way Leader
This is the leader who is great at giving passionate speeches, using the force of their leadership personality to communicate and to drive their organization. They are one-way communicators. They dominate team meetings and individual conversations. These leaders have a lot to say but don’t take the time to listen.
As faith-centered leaders, leading faith centered organizations; ultimately the core of all energy is spiritual energy.
“Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.” Hebrews 12:1b-2
Are you an exhausting leader or an energizing leader? Why don’t you be bold and ask your people? Let me know what you learn. I would love to hear from you.