As many of you know, Jack Welch, the renowned former CEO of General Electric, came up with the 4-E (And 1-P) framework for qualities that make a successful leader. The first E is positive energy. It means the ability to go-go-go – to thrive on action and relish change. The second E is the ability to energise others, and inspire them to take on the impossible. The third E is edge, the courage to make tough yes-or-no decisions. The fourth E is execute – the ability to get the job done. And the final, the P, stands for passion – a heartfelt, deep and authentic excitement about work.
Simply put, our success boils down to highly talented team members who are motivated and excited to deliver their best every day, while working together as a team. But none of this can happen in a vacuum. You need to have a positive attitude and enthusiasm. And you need happy team members who are willing to go the extra mile. So, as leaders, we must to be able to energise our team members and create a positive culture, because this is how we make great things happen.
And our role in this is absolutely critical. Think about it. If you come into a meeting distracted and spend half of your team on your phone or laptop, what happens to the energy level in the room? Or if you spend most of the time criticising your team members, engaging in side conversations or only listening to your own voice; how do you think it would make your team members feel?
So, my message this week focuses on how to infuse positive energy in your workplace – how you can manage your personal energy better, build a more positive mind frame for yourself, extend that positivity to the way you manage your teams and interact with your colleagues, and ultimately foster a more positive culture.
Remember, that this needs to start with you first. Your personal energy is the fuel for all your behaviours. It is important for you to first become a positive person. Only then will you be able to spread that energy in your organisation.
So, introspect. Take some time off to figure out the kind of space you are in right now. You need to be honest with yourself. What kind of energy levels are you exuding? Are you a positive or a negative person? Are you always looking for faults or blaming others? Are you focusing on only pinpointing problems? Are you being constantly pulled in different directions, distracted, snappy and exhausted? Are you not able to find time to do the things you want to do? Have you found a way to build a strong, supportive core that you can keep dipping into?
What changes do you need to make in your behaviours to become a more positive person?
Remember that how you behave and act sends strong signals and will either bring the energy levels in the organisation up or down. Even small things such as how you sit (if you slouch, it conveys low energy) can have an impact. Bottom line, if you want your organisation to behave positively, then you need to have a positive attitude and demonstrate positive energy. If you want to be a positive force every day, then you have to manage your own stress and energy.
And start with stop complaining. Don’t become the problem. Don’t criticise others or blame others. Take personal accountability to make the change you want to see, happen.
Energise your team
Energising your team members to deliver their best is your core responsibility as a leader. Here are five ways you can achieve this:
1. Purpose and impact
You must show people that the work they are doing has a purpose and will lead to impact. Lay out a clear direction for them. Be clear about the goals of each team member and how they contribute to the team and the organisation. Set high expectations. Show them what success could look like and how exciting it would be. Ask them to rise to the challenge. Make them want to make it happen.
2. Find energy boosters
Make your every day more energising. Start looking for ways to sustain the energy of your team members throughout the day. Small things can make a big difference. For example, you could make your meetings more efficient. Having clear agendas, concrete actions and shorter meetings with breaks can help. You could find ways to incorporate some fun activity into the day. This always helps raise energy levels. Even something small for 10-15 minutes a day can make a big difference. Maybe even take up something to do together as a team, like volunteering your team at a cause that you feel strongly for. And always celebrate wins, both big and small. Appreciate and thank people. Let them know how valued they are.
3. Possibility thinking
Sunil Kataria, head of our India and SAARC business, is a great advocate of ‘possibility thinking’. This is a great way to harness positive energy. Possibility thinking (as opposed to probability thinking, which is all about what will be), encourages you to trying to approach at situations with a more positive, creative, open frame of mind. You start looking for ‘what can be’. You are more driven and solution oriented. Given the complexity of the environment that we are grappling with, we will be faced with many choices and we will need to act faster . Our attention and energy will only be pulled in more directions. There will be many times when we will be exhausted, worried and frustrated. We need to make a fundamental shift in approach to be able to thrive in this uncertainty.
4. Take a genuine interest in your team
Helping your team members grow and succeed is arguably your biggest role as a leader. You will only be as successful as your team. So, don’t just make this about pinpointing their faults. Spend time with them to understand their strengths. Bring out the best in them. Help them develop into better team members and leaders in their own right.
5. Empower your team members
To really be able to energise and excite your team, you will need to let go. Make them independent. Let them learn. Guide them, but don’t micro manage them. This will also free up much more of your time, to focus and invest in things that are important to you. Win–win.
Deal with ‘downers’
Inevitably, you will deal with a ‘downer’ – someone who is negative, engaging in turf battles and who can be draining to deal with. One way to manage this is to over-pour your positive energy to quell this negative energy. But at some point, if the negative energy becomes destructive, then you need to understand why the person is feeling that way. Be open with the person. Help him or her change. And frankly, if the person is not willing to change in spite of your best efforts, perhaps this may not be the right organisation for them. Be prepared to change team members who are sucking energy out of the organisation, as it can infect the rest of the team.
One final point. Smile more. It really only takes a second. And it can make such a difference to being more positive. Smiling improves your mood, relieves stress and makes you so much more approachable. And you pass it on. There is nothing really to lose here. So why not just start smiling more this week to radiate more positive energy?
As always, I look forward to hearing from you.