Are you working in an organization where leaders have high energy? Do the leaders in your organization mange their energy effectively?
One of the most powerful questions one can ask oneself is “Am I managing time or energy?” Inspiring leaders manage energy well.
Are you fully aware of how you are focusing your energy? Are you able to create a high performance workplace by creating a workplace climate where energy not time spent creates extraordinary results?
Managing Energy With Stories
“To be fully engaged in our lives, we must be physically energized, emotionally connected, mentally focused, and spiritually aligned with a purpose beyond our immediate self-interest.”
— Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz, The Power of Full Engagement (2003)
Most of us respond to workplace demands by putting in longer hours.
But it’s fundamentally flawed to assume that investing time in the things we care about will generate results. This belief, and the stories that flow from it, are simply untrue.
We can work long hours, have lunch meetings with direct reports and make the required phone calls, but if we’re exhausted, distracted, frustrated and angry when doing so, the positive return we’ve hoped for won’t materialize.
Nothing positive comes from putting in extra time without devoting high-quality, focused energy. Time has value only when it intersects with energy. High performance requires you to manage energy—not time—well.
Executives strive to sustain high performance in the face of ever-increasing pressure and rapid change, but they cannot make it happen without skillfully managing their energy.
In The Power of Full Engagement (2003), authors Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz assert we need to learn two new rules:
1. Energy is the fundamental currency of high performance.
2. Performance, health and happiness are grounded in the skillful management of energy.
And Loehr puts forth a third important rule:
3. The stories we tell ourselves and others drive the way we gather and spend energy.
Loehr’s new book, The Power of Story: Rewrite Your Destiny in Business and in Life (2007), expands on creating more energy for high performance. Faulty storytelling, he argues, drives the way executives gather and spend their energy:
“I believe that stories — not the ones people tell us but the ones we tell ourselves — determine nothing less than our personal and professional destinies. And the most important story you will ever tell about yourself is the story you tell to yourself.”
Tell yourself the right story, and the dynamics of your energy will change. Stories you tell will either create or sap your energy.
A perfect example is the old story about two shoe salesmen sent to Africa. The first one telegraphs back to company headquarters: “Situation hopeless: No one wears shoes.”
The second salesman reports: “Situation ideal: Everyone need shoes!”
Which story generates energy? Change your story, and you change your energy.
Workers in organizations like to complain about their workloads — a term that’s both oppressive and weighty. How can professionals focus on what really matters when they’re carrying around a “load” (work or otherwise)?
Change your language, and you change your story. You’ll ignite a new kind of energy. Take a moment to reflect on two recent stories you told yourself: one that gives you energy and one that depletes it.
Working with a seasoned executive coach trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating leadership assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-i and CPI 260 can help you become a leader who effectively manages his/her energy with stories. You can become a leader who models emotional intelligence, and who inspires people to become happily engaged with the strategy and vision of the company.