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11 Sources of Leadership Energy

11 September 2017

Observing the styles, interactions and effectiveness of countless effective leaders have, I notice that the energy to influence (and to have an impact) is a paradox because it comes and goes - while also being self-evidently enabled by skills that can be learned and strengthened with practice.

Energy to be present and influential is a “mystery”.

In the midst of day to day activties it can be difficult to explain why one feels effective, motivated, and energised and then suddenly find this so familair and essential feeling suddenly "disappear"

Overall, I have found that  leaders' ability to maintain their own energies, and to turn up and be  wholesomely engaged with others with sensitive empathy comes from having an open mindset, accompanied by a lightly held, but nonetheless disciplined, routine of day to day “practices”.

Regardless of personality, gender and culture, leaders can bring a distinctive and influential “quality” of energy to space, relationship, situation or challenge - if they are aware of how their day to day activty consoles and engergises them or distracts or depresses them. 

So I have taken time to observe and to inquire about what leaders do, and how they are when they are doing it. I have asked them about what I have observed - specifically to find out what they believe works best for them.  For example:

  • What are they aware of being or doing?  
  • Why does it work for them? 
  • What results (if any) do they seek and / or see?

I have suplemented my questions with conversations with their friends and colleagues. This has given me other people's  perspectives on how they experience these same leaders' energies,  behaviours and practices.

It seems leaders' energies come from skills and practices that give them the time and space to use their experiences and insights day by day - to shift perspective and in so doing generate new energy.

These inquiries have led me to the following, eleven tentative observations about what underpins and acts as sources of leadership energy:

  1. A sense of rightness of place that leads to a commitment to turning up
  2. A sensitivity to passing of time that leads to a sense of urgency
  3. An awareness of the rythm of things that leads to a sense of the season for a thing
  4. A connection to others that leads to a desire to relate
  5. An ability to live with contradiction that leads to a readiness for the unexpected
  6. An experience of generosity that leads to a joy of feeling reciprocity
  7. A frustration with the ordinary that leads to an aspiration for the extraordinary
  8. An appreciation of diversity that leads to the valuing of difference
  9. A commitment to the other that leads to an openness to inconvenience
  10. An awareness of fragmentation that leads to a hunger for wholeness
  11. An appreciation of simplicity that leads to engaging with humility

What Next?

If you are a leader, manager, supervisor or team member, it is quite likely that you have been in situations where you have engaged with others in a way that is engaging and energising. Some of these observations may resonate. If so, you may want to pay greater attention to one or other of them

For me the inquiry continues. The eleven sources of leadership energy I describe above are tentative (could have been twelve or twenty) and can be added to. I would be delighted to hear what resonates, what you see differently and what sources you (from your experience and reflection) might add to the eleven that I have offered here. I would be delighted if we could turn the  eleven into the twenty!

Additional Notes:

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