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Unless you work for a utility or oil company, energy in business is only about one thing: PEOPLE. Energy comes from mastery, empowerment, creativity, teamwork, love, empathy and acknowledgement. Money may also show up on this list somewhere, but it certainly isn’t at the top of my list. Money by itself is like a mid-afternoon cup of coffee or Snickers bar. It gives you that immediate boost you might need, but it wears off in short order.

Instead, try one of these 6½ ways to energize your people:

  1. Show them the way – Cast a compelling vision of where you are going. People may desire to be empowered to chart their own course, but they still look to the leader to paint a beautiful picture of where they are going.
  2. Love them – No, not rainbows and puppy dog love. The love a leader has for his or her people is made of patience, kindness, generosity, courtesy, humility, unselfishness, good temper and sincerity. You can be all those things without sacrificing anything in the way of firmness and conviction. This isn’t about becoming a “bowl of jelly” without a backbone.
  3. Tell them your story – Tell your people what you believe in and why what you are doing matters. Tell them about your struggles and your dreams. In doing so you become human. Your people will be able to connect with you in unexpected ways. Your story will communicate your purpose and values in a way that a plaque with a mission statement printed never could.
  4. Invest in them – People are inherently motivated by the opportunity to become masterful in something. By investing in developing your people and freeing them to develop themselves you energize them and they in turn energize your business.
  5. Walk with them – In The One Minute Manager, Ken Blanchard writes: “People with humility don’t think less of themselves; they just think of themselves less.” Get out of your office and walk with your people. Walking with them doesn’t only mean listening to what they have to say, but also celebrating, grieving and learning with them.
  6. Remind them – Max DePree, former chairman of Herman Miller and author of Leadership Is an Art, compared the strategic role of a leader to that of a 3rd grade teacher who keeps repeating the basics: “When it comes to vision, values and direction, you have to say it over and over and over again until people get it right, right, right.” A leader is consistently reminding his people of what they’re doing, why they’re doing it and why it’s important.

6 ½. Remind them again and then let them get to the business of doing it.

Any investment you make in energizing your people will bring many returns. It actually becomes self-generating after a while. Tapping into the energy source of your people can be hard work AND it will sustain you for the long haul.

Do you want to re-energize your workplace? Join me for next week’s teleseminar to learn how to tap into your personal energy source.

Jeff HarmonJeff Harmon is the president of Brilliance Within Coaching & Consulting which specializes in developing servant leaders while helping them translate their strategies into actionable plans that drive business results. Jeff is the author of “The Anatomy of a Principled Leader.” Jeff has been developing leaders for nearly 20 years and has led the execution of over 100,000 hours of business strategy for information technology, financial services and non-profit organizations.

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