Author: Martin Davies
We have all experienced energy loss at some point. So the question we ask is: if leadership can help re-capture energy loss, what difference can it make to an organisation?
Energy Loss Occurrences
Have you ever had a really busy day when things just seem to be stacking up all day but you feel like you haven’t made any progress at all. Energy loss occurs when you dodge your problems, dance around issues or be unclear to people. We all do it, we all react to external forces. Organisations usually experience energy loss the most in the early stages of change and in times of stagnation when there is no change which encourages frustration and anxiety. Leaders can re-capture this energy loss through strong leadership but first they must understand it.
When faced with change these people will often develop an annoyance with others and often criticise them publicly. This increases pressure that is put on subordinates. People that do this are usually people who set high targets and work hard, the sort of lead by example type. They tend to feel that they are responsible for everything, thus when things start to go wrong, they tend to tighten up on controls and take back responsibility. The way to fix this is to say “well, given the appropriate training and skills, what could others do better?” However it is very easy for leaders to say, “once I get through this crisis, i’ll fix my team.” Leaders often react with flare behaviours due to often having a lot of responsibility.
In short, this is energy loss via conflict avoidance. People who express behaviours like this will often not speak up, to avoid an argument. This is often a response to “flare” behaviours of others and often leaders. For example, when leaders pressure or bully people, what they normally get submission, not agreement. Leaders who do that are only draining peoples energy and creative juices. Then they wonder “Why doesn’t anyone show any initiative?” In fact a good way to measure how well leaders are controlling energy loss is to examine the amount of ideas and improvements that are generated and accepted. People who show pacifier behaviours often view a trade off between emotional drain and having their ideas accepted, normally choosing to keep quiet. Some may say they are weak for not endeavouring to be heard, but in fact it is down to poor leadership.
This is merely hiding and avoiding engagement or involvement. These people do this for three reasons. Fear of failure (not having the necessary tools/resources and being set up to fail), fear of overload (saying yes to everything and not having clear goals and targets and being overwhelmed) and the fear of being diverted from priorities (a fitting quote is “its difficult to focus on emptying the swamp when your up to your neck in alligators”. The solution to this is to delegate and prioritise, only engaging in order of importance. This solution is also important for leaders to understand and is critical part of effective leadership.
Re-Capturing The Lost Energy Through Leadership
Energy loss is difficult to measure, however the energy loss over a whole organisation is the sum of all the individual energy losses within the company. To re-capture the energy loss you first need to come to terms with that fact that it occurs. Then you need to determine where it is happening, this can be done by asking leaders to examine their own behaviour profiles. Then offer a model of constructive behaviours that allow the individual to deal with conflict and change. The point being that people experience energy loss in different ways, however the principal stands that minimising energy loss in everyone will decrease the energy loss over a whole organisation. Self analysis and being self aware both important parts of leadership and are things that all good leaders are able to do effectively.
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