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Why energy is so important for leaders

Source | | Lead Change

Lead Change is a leadership media destination with a unique editorial focus on driving change within organizations, teams, and individuals. Lead Change, a division of Weaving Influence, publishes twice monthly with SmartBrief. Today’s post is by Kim Cameron.

What is the key for producing extraordinarily successful outcomes in organizations? How do we reach spectacular levels of productivity, profitability, quality, innovation, customer satisfaction and employee retention? What is the most important factor that accounts for outstanding success? 

Abundant empirical evidence suggests that the organization’s leader is the single most important predictor — more important than strategy, culture, incentive systems, processes or facilities. If all of these factors are in place but the organization has a poor leader, success is unlikely.

Of course, not just any leader can create extraordinary outcomes. The good news is that scientific research has identified one specific factor that tends to trump all others: the positive energy of the leader. 

Positive energy elevates individuals, is life-giving, and fosters vitality. In nature, the most common source of positive energy is the sun. It is the life-giving force. All species, including human beings, are inclined over time toward life-giving energy, and they avoid life-depleting or life-endangering energy. This phenomenon is called the heliotropic effect. 

It is important to note that several kinds of energy exist, and not all are life-giving. For example, physical energy diminishes with use. If we run a marathon, we need recovery time because we have become physically exhausted. Mental energy and emotional energy are the same. When they are used, they diminish in strength. Relational energy is different. 

When relational energy is demonstrated, it elevates and renews itself. We seldom become exhausted, for example, by being around loving, supportive people who help uplift us. In fact, we often seek relational energy to become renewed. Relational energy renews us, uplifts us and refreshes us. It is the energy exchanged between two individuals.

The extent to which leaders demonstrate relational energy is the most important thing they do. In fact, my own research has reached three important conclusions about positive energy in leaders. 

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