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Leadership Thought #222 – Your Energy Level Matters

September 30, 2011

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Leaders cannot be low-energy people – it is that simple.  When you walk into a room the energy level should automatically pick up.  When you meet someone who is low energy, your own positive energy should be infectious.  Success at anything requires action.  You need to focus like a laser beam and plow forward despite the inevitable obstacles and distractions. When other people are saying “no” or “this is too hard,” you must be able to say “yes” and encourage them to move forward anyway.  As with everything in leadership, you need to lead by example.

Years ago, when I was an undergraduate, I had a banquet server job at a very prestigious concert hall.  I often had the good fortune of observing many famous and talented people in a public setting but also sometimes behind the scenes. It was amazing how different they were all from one another, but the best ones all had one thing in common: being around them picked you up.  When they smiled others around them automatically smiled in response.  They intuitively knew what it meant to perform in front of an audience.  They looked people in the eye and made them feel important.  They stepped up to the plate and made the moment special.

Regardless of what you feel about his politics, it is undeniable that when Bill Clinton enters a room the energy level increases.  I was once at the other end of a large banquet hall, and you could feel the environment change the moment he entered the room – it was quite powerful.  Obviously, everyone is not Bill Clinton or holds an elite position in their field.  Some people are just blessed with special charisma and instinctual leadership ability.  However, each of us can pay more attention to our own energy levels and how we are affecting others.

Leaders don’t have the luxury of being low-key or down in front of their employees, partners, or colleagues.   This is especially true when times are tough and it’s easy for people to focus on the negative.  To lead means to assume responsibility for driving something forward and rallying a group of people around a common purpose. You can’t do this if they aren’t attracted to your message and how you deliver it.   You can’t be a low-energy messenger and expect a high-energy response.  People need to want to follow you not just follow you because of your title.