Why Positive Energy Matters & How You Can Grow it in Your Organization

What’s free, grows when used, and is the #1 untapped resource inside your organization?

Positive energy.

We scratched the surface on building positive energy in your organization in a past post, and this week we’re taking a deeper dive into this topic.

Let’s begin with a quick recap.

What Is Positive Energy?

  1. It produces feelings of zest and aliveness
  2. It’s life-giving and enhances our ability to flourish
  3. It’s possibly the most important attribute of positive leaders

What’s So Special About Positive Energy?

Positive energy is different from other types of energy. Physical, emotional, and mental energy are all depleted when we use them. However, relational energy—interacting with positive people—grows when we use it. So, the more we use our positive energy with people, the more we have of it.

Why Does It Matter?

Identifying, measuring, and cultivating positive energy is crucial to organizational performance because it results in higher performance, more cohesive teams, job satisfaction, low turnover, and high engagement. In fact, positive energy is four times more important in predicting performance than the usual measures of influence and knowledge.

Kim Cameron, the premiere positive leadership researcher, shares what positive energizers and de-energizers do differently in his book, Practicing Positive Leadership: Tools and Techniques that Create Extraordinary Results.

Energizers are…

  • helpful, supportive, trustworthy, have high integrity, optimistic, fully engaged, authentic, see opportunities, solve problems, express gratitude, and smile.

De-energizers…

  • look for and create obstacles and problems, don’t give credit, are closed-minded, aren’t concerned about others, lack follow-through, are solemn, inauthentic, and often critical.

So, when you consider these contrasts, you start to see how de-energizers can be draining on the organization, and that an organizational goal should be to maximize the number of energizers.

The good news is you can train people to be energizers. First, you need to identify your energizers and de-energizers, and there are three ways to do this:

Identify & Measure

  1. Statistical Mapping
    • Download UNICET software from www.analytictech.com. This tool allows you to measure energy on a scale of 1 = de-energized to 7 = energized. A map, resembling airline flight paths, emerges to identify positive and negative energy hubs.
  2. Bubble Chart
    • Ask each employee to write down 3 team members who they rate as most positively energizing. An individual’s bubble size increases with each mention. Those with the biggest bubbles are the most positive energizers.
  3. Pulse Survey
    • This is a 10-point scale that measures your energy today. This measurement method represents a snapshot in time, not an overview of the entire organization, but it can be a helpful tracking tool.

Of course, use the measurement method that works best for you. I prefer Statistical Mapping, but if it sounds too complicated to you, then employ the Bubble Chart or Pulse Survey.

Next, it’s time to cultivate positive energy and increase the number of energizers in your organization.

Cultivate Energizers

  1. Loving Kindness Meditation
    • Don’t be fooled into thinking this is some woo-woo nonsense. On the contrary, it is backed by tons of science demonstrating that thinking positive thoughts and feelings towards yourself and others for 3-5 minutes a day helps rewire our brains from the naturally negative default to positive and increases our vitality through relational energy.
  2. Contribution Cards
    • Provide every member of your team or unit with blank cards for every other member (i.e., if there are 15 people on the team, each member gets 14 cards).
    • For each person on the team: On one side of the card list special contributions, strengths, and what you value about a team member. On the other side of the card, list the positive energy they can bring and the contributions they can make if the organization is to become extraordinary and exceed goals.
    • Each person receives the stack of cards with their name on the top (i.e., in a 15-person team, each member should have 14 cards). After reviewing the stack, each member writes a couple of paragraphs interpreting the feedback.
    • One-by-one, each team member reads their interpretations and makes a public commitment of accountability regarding how they will shift to more positive energy practices.
  3. Fun and Recreation
    • Brainstorm ways to inject more fun into your workplace. Just as behavior can change by doing fun and creative things, so can energy.
      • For example, 66% more people opted to take a staircase painted as a piano keyboard versus the adjoining escalator, and 100 people put glass bottles in a recycle receptacle that played video game sounds versus 2 people who used a regular container nearby.

Now you know the benefits of positive energy and are equipped with the tools needed to identify, measure, and cultivate this free, regenerating resource inside your organization. Remember, only select the tools that are the best fit for you from the ones listed.

Charge forth and generate positive energy!

If you want to go even deeper on this topic, check out Kim Cameron’s book, Practicing Positive Leadership: Tools and techniques that create extraordinary results, or tune in to my podcast episode, Building Positive Energy in Your Organization.

If you’ve got questions or you want to share what you’re doing to grow positive energy in your workplace, drop me a line at [email protected] – I always love to hear from you.

And, if you want some simple practices that can increase positivity for you and your team, download my book for free: 25 Tips for Leaders: How to Leverage the Science of Happiness to Increase Performance, Productivity, and Profitability

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