The Energizing Leader - 180 x 600

What is a positive energizer?

In his book Practicing Positive Leadership, Kim Cameron, associate dean in the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan defines positive energy this way. “Positive energy is a feeling of aliveness, arousal, vitality and zest. It is the life-giving force that allows us to perform, to create, to persist. It unlocks capacity within us and actually increases our ability to flourish.” Energizers are trustworthy, they pay attention, they build and foster confidence in others, they are unselfish, and are good problem solvers.

The importance of energizing leaders

There are numerous theories of motivation, but few have considered the importance of energy as a source of enhanced performance.  Recent scientific research has indicated that positive energy is four times more important in predicting performance than factors such as knowledge or influence. This research also revealed that people who are exposed to energizing leaders have higher job satisfaction, higher performance and higher levels of well being outside as well as inside the office.

Do you work for a positive energizer?

Positive energy is not the same as being outgoing or extraverted.  Think of people you may know who may be on the shy side but inspire you nonetheless.  Here are some questions suggested by Cameron to assess the positive leadership energy in your organization:

  • Do I feel invigorated when I interact with my manager?
  • After interacting with my manager, do I have more energy to do my work?
  • Would I go to my manager when I need help solving a problem?
  • Would I go to my manager when I need a pep talk?

What if you answered no?

If your immediate supervisor is not positively energizing, what then?  Try the following:

Step 1. Analyze the energy of your internal network. Who are the most positive people in your organization? What ways can you find to work more closely with them?

Step 2. What mentoring relationships can you create to take advantage of the positive energizers?

Step 3. What activities can you initiate or suggest to increase the positive energy of your team or organization?

Step 4. Outside of work, who is a positive influencer that can help you recharge?

In summary, social science research has shown that positive leaders have a profound effect on the engagement, productivity and health of the organizations they lead. Understanding who in your organization and your larger community are positive influencers can help you unlock your creativity, courage and bring greater job and life satisfaction.