“Every great institution is the lengthened shadow of a single man. His character determines the character of the organisation.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
The leader sets the tone of any organisation, no matter how big or small, no matter if it is an amateur football team or a Fortune 500 behemoth.
Emerson has it right in the above quote, there is no doubt, but let’s look at what the shadow of a leader is really made of.
I have been lucky enough to captain my country and teams I have represented. I have been even luckier to have been captained by some amazing leaders. There is one common trait every one of those leaders possesses.
That trait is radiating energy.
Think to yourself how great leaders light up a room when they enter it. Think of how they leave a room buzzing when they leave that room.
When a leader shakes your hand you can feel that energy. True leaders leave everything they touch a little better when they leave.
The leader does not need to been buzzing with energy or even been a dynamo, they just need to emit good energy.
For me that is what charisma is. Charisma is energy plus attention to detail in demeanour, dress, speech, grooming, plus a healthy helping of EQ/EI and IQ.
Presence is encapsulated by charisma and literally the “presence” of a leader’s energy.
This is why absentee leadership does not work. How can you lead if you are not present? It must be said that some CEO roles are slightly different than others, some CEOs need to be the main salesperson, the rainmaker, the hustler. They need to be on a plane and signing deals and pressing the flesh. In these instances, the COO or MD needs to assume the role of Chief Energy Officer and emit good energy throughout the company.
When this energy is absent people leave companies. Bearing in mind that people never really leave companies, people leave people (and the adverse is equally true).
Remote Workers — In Defence of the Office
While I fully respect the shift in human desires to work from home, to reserve that choice, to avoid long commutes, the improvement in collaborative technologies, time saving, I still feel the need for teams to be together. When teams are physically together in a vibrant office space (more on that in a future Thursday Thought), then magic can happen.
When the collective energy is dissipated there is a collective loss in energy. This is why sports teams “feel” the lack when an enigmatic player is injured and unavailable for selection, they feel there is something missing and there is, their energy.
Even when workers are in the office, but have closed office doors or silos within silos you get energy decay or stagnation. This kills the “buzz” in offices and you can feel the energy void.
Pointing Energy in the same Direction
If you were to ask people in any company which way the company was pointed you would get something like the image on the right.
It is only when the company leaders know where they are going AND THEN this is communicated implicitly to employees that true magic can happen.
When everyone knows where they are going and then they collectively “Point their energy” in that direction true and rapid success can happen.
One caveat to add that working together is different from industry to industry. If you were to spend your days coding or writing foe example the office is not the ideal place. However, the collective will miss your energy, if you are a radiator of good energy.
Radiators and Drains (aka Energy Vampires)
You know the people I am talking about. We all know at least one of them. You meet them, they talk, you listen, you empathise, your energy crashes. You leave the meeting mentally and physically exhausted with what feels like the mother of all sugar crashes. You have just been drained by an energy vampire.
In life there are radiators and there are drains.
Someone who emits good energy is drawn to someone else who also emits good energy. In a way, energy of a feather flocks together, in a way energy officers emit and thus are on “the same frequency”.
Think now about whether or not you hire good energy into your company, are the candidates radiators or drains, most of us wouldn’t even think to check. Now think, who are the drains in your company today. If you have drains, you will have “energy leaks” and it is very hard to ensure your ship can effectively reach its destination when you have leaks.
Leaks and Blockages
In yoga tradition (unfortunately I am not a practitioner) there is a beautiful metaphor. They say the milk of a lioness is so potent that no container can hold it except for a container made of pure gold. If this golden container is not pure authentic gold, the lioness milk will leak from the vessel, burning through like acid and drain away.
This is the same with your organisation or team or even family. When people are not aligned in the same direction and don’t fully commit to that direction, well then energy leaks.
Once you know where (who) the main energy leaks are, you can set about plugging them. When you plug them, you will experience magic. The same amount of effort will yield much more significant and profound success.
Worse than leaks are blockages. Regarding blockages think of very brave sports coaches who rid teams of toxic players, of egos and of prima donnas. This is the same in business, someone may be great at their job, but if they are an energy block and they block the greater good, then they need to be unblocked as they will thwart progress and thus success. No one person is greater than the team.
Damn Millennials Quitting Again!
I don’t condone job hopping in any way, but I empathise with those who leave because their work lacks meaning or their “boss” is not a leader.
Why come to work everyday to just do “stuff”, imagine how much better it would be to come to work every day and have your energy pointed in the right direction along with your team of colleagues. In that scenario you achieve real meaning.
According to this Gallup study, employees between 20 and 36 are the least engaged in their workplace. You hear that millennials are an entitled generation etc. and this is often decided to be the reason.
Firstly, calling them millennials is irrelevant, they are people first and foremost. Secondly, they are job hopping because they are looking for meaning, they are seeking purpose, they are seeking leadership.
Chief Energy Officers who really understand true motivations of their people and their potential recruits are the ones who can unlock greatness.
Chief Energy Officers are much more than givers of meaning, purpose and energy, they need to be energy facilitators as well as energy creators. In this respect they need to behave like the farmer who does not make food grow, but creates the environment in which food will thrive.
This thought is not directed at CEOs, it is an option for any employee, team player, father, mother, captain, musician, artist, renegade or rogue.
Be a CEO, be a Chief Energy Officer in your environment and bring others along with you. By being this, other CEOs will be attracted to your energy and you will operate on a higher spectrum than before.
If you like this post please hit the thumbs up button below so others may see it.
Also subscribe to the innovation show on iTunes.