Like it or not, as a leader you have a significant impact on the energy around you at work. You’re either generating passion, enthusiasm and drive in people, or you’re sucking it out of them. Your ideal, therefore, is to display positive energy in everything you do. I know it’s a tall order; but, ultimately, the success of your company will depend on whether you can share this energy with others and foster consistent enthusiasm among your peers.
So what will it take for you to generate energy throughout your company? Here are five tips to help you flip your switch to “on”:
1. Be Passionate About Your Work
By its nature, true passion is energizing. You know the difference between passion and drudgery, for example. Passion for your mission, product, service, team, or customers, is what makes you jump out of bed in the morning; when your job is nothing more than a chore, you fall out of bed and drag yourself through the day.
Are you passionate about what you do? If not, can you find something about your work—or the people you work with—that really trips your trigger? Tap into that, and you’ll be better equipped to find ways to streamline everyday tasks and discover innovative ways to make your work more enjoyable. And that passionate energy will start to spread to those around you.
2. Switch Tasks Regularly
It’s just not realistic to expect that you’re going to be passionate about every little task. There are boring, mundane things that you don’t like to do that you have to do anyway. That’s true for all of us. We have a technical term for that. It’s called, “being an adult.”
Having said that, don’t get stuck in a rut. If you find yourself working on the same mundane tasks for hours on end, switch it up for a while; otherwise, you run the risk of becoming complacent about the important things, too.
Boredom is anathema to energy. So try and take on a broad array of tasks so that no two days are ever identical. Do what you can to enable others to switch tasks regularly, too. Try swapping jobs for a few days, and watch what it does to everyone’s energy.
3. Take Breaks as Needed
You can’t generate energy in others if you don’t have any, yourself. Make sure that your own energy well goes deep and never runs dry. In other words, don’t wear yourself out. You may think that pushing through your day without a break will set a heroic example for others. But you’ll wind up doing more harm than good for both you and your company.
Taking short breaks throughout the day will help you to focus, give you more stamina, and it will lead to your being more productive, not less.
Spend a few minutes chatting with peers, go for a walk outside, grab a cup of coffee—you know what to do. These minor breaks will bring you major rejuvenation. And your newly sparked energy will readily spread to others.
4. Get and Stay Fit
Okay, here it comes. Talking about the best approach to good nutrition and exercise is as polarizing a topic as religion and politics. Vegan vs. Paleo; Crossfit vs. Pilates; High Fat vs. Low Fat—there are fanatic proponents on every side of the debate. It’s enough to make you crazy.
So let’s just agree on this:
However you choose to get there, whatever exercise or nutritional approach you take, getting your bod to peak physical health is, quite literally, the foundation of your energy. You (me, all of us) need to get fit, healthy, strong, flexible, and lean. Our bodies need to be fully tuned and equipped to give us the energy for taking on the challenges of life, business and leadership. Obvious, right?
It’s taken me years to find an approach that works for me, but you need to find what works best for your body, preferences, and lifestyle. (I’m not a nutrition expert, to say the least, but I’ve learned a great deal over the years. I’m happy to share what I do if you think it’ll help you make your own decisions. Let me know and we can have a private discussion about it.)
If you’re feeling some resistance to this, here’s a good psychological tip from Shay de Silva:
“Start by taking a minute to think about what working out will do for you. Focus on the extra energy you’ll have, the good mood, the lower cholesterol, the increased productivity, and looking great. Tell yourself that you’re just going to start with five minutes of movement. You can dance, do a few push-ups, or go for a walk. Just do something. Once you get started, it’s usually pretty easy to keep going and get in a full workout. If not, at least you did a few minutes, which is always better than nothing.”
5. Set Leaping Goals
Give yourself and others at work something inspiring to shoot for. Yes, there are the day-to-day tasks that need to get done, but toward what end? What could you and yours really accomplish if you put your collective heart and soul into it?
Energizing goals demand that you leap to meet them, not “stretch,” as some have said. A leap goal will require you to get excited and energetic if you’re going to make it. Set goals that tap into the talents, skills, hopes, and aspirations of your team and company, and people will generate the energy necessary to leap up and hit those goals.
Start with two Leap Goals: one personal goal that you can do without having to rely on anyone else, and one team goal that will require you all to work together.
This short list of energizers is just to get you started. There are literally thousands of ways to generate energy in yourself and others, and I encourage you to experiment and share what you’re doing with us.
Because sharing ideas with others generates energy, of course.