Over the last six months I have had the opportunity to sit down personally with a number of respected CEO’s and CMO’s to discuss their individual approach to successful leadership.
What has been common throughout the conversations is a consistent message of the absolute necessity to be aware of the impact that the energy of a leader can have on organisational energy. It led me to reflect on my own leadership mistakes and those I have observed throughout my career. I share these with you below with some ideas to get back on track as soon as you sense a little familiarity.
1. Forgetting to fuel your own energy levels first.
Being the boss is a tough gig. It’s not unusual to find that this means putting yourself last. And while well intended it can leave you drained. Energy is contagious, both in the positive and negative sense. So, if you aren’t energized or able to manage your energy well, how can you expect to lead with energy? Tony Schwartz talks about the importance of managing your energy, not your time and ensuring that our four energy systems – the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual are each looked after in their own way.
2. Not setting a team vision.
This is the difference between inspiration and motivation. Motivating people is exhausting. Inspire your team behind a goal that is bigger than the individual, clearly define success and you will unleash energy in your team you never knew existed. And, without any additional energy required from you. Once the goal is set, let your team take responsibility for how it is achieved and get out of the way.
3. Being inconsistent.
As a leader it is your job to be aware of your energy levels and create a consistent experience of your leadership. Extreme highs and lows in energy will leave a lasting impact on your team. If you are experiencing either, and you are unable to control it, remove yourself from the situation until you can.
4. Not scheduling recovery time.
The impact of corporate burnout can be wide ranging and destructive. Everyone needs to recharge their batteries. Role model down time and insist your team schedule it for themselves too. A depleted team member can impact the energy of the whole team, so make the call and give them permission to take the day off rather than affect everyone. Remember to be consistent about this too.
5. Conflict between individual contribution and team KPIs.
It is important to make sure your team are rewarded for directing their energy in the right direction. Common sense right? That is until you add the normal complexity that exists in traditional organisations and suddenly you find you have conflicting and often competitive goals. Check that your performance incentives are actually driving the right behaviors. And if your team is working with another team adopt shared goals to create a bigger impact together.
6. Forgetting about the small moments.
Creating the big rah rah of a team workshop is great. Until you walk in the next day and don’t say ‘Hello’ or chose to send an email to a person meters away from you destroying all the great energy you built up. Get up off your ass and have a proper chat, every single day. Or FaceTime is good too.
7. Try to fix and manage people vs enabling and leading them.
It is not a true leadership responsibility to fix people. It’s the old adage that you can impart all the knowledge in the world to someone, but if they don’t want to change, they won’t. Enable them with tools, knowledge, experience and they’ll take responsibility themselves. Read more on this here.
While the mistakes above are common, with small changes they are also easy to overcome. Regularly checking in with yourself and your team to make sure that bad habits aren’t allowed to creep in is the first step to becoming an energized leader.
Featured photo credit: Jeff Sturges via imcreator.com