Sunday, April 11, 2010

Is this you as a leader?

I'm very grateful to my friend Sarah Fraser for a link to this article - I love it - hope you enjoy reading it.

Three Tips for Becoming an Energizer - Rosabeth Moss Kanter

Some people become leaders no matter what their chosen path because their positive energy is so uplifting. Even in tough times, they always find a way. They seem to live life on their own terms even when having to comply with someone else's requirements. When they walk into a room, they make it come alive. When they send a message, it feels good to receive it. Their energy makes them magnets attracting other people.

Just plain energy is a neglected dimension of leadership. It is a form of power available to anyone in any circumstances. While inspiration is a long-term proposition, energy is necessary on a daily basis, just to keep going.
Three things characterize the people who are energizers.

1. A relentless focus on the bright side. Energizers find the positive and run with it. A state government official in a state that doesn't like government overcomes that handicap through her strong positive presence. She dispenses compliments along with support for the community served by her agency, making it seem that she works for them rather than for the government. She greets everyone with the joy generally reserved for a close relative returning from war. I can see skeptics' eyebrows starting to rise, but judging from her success, people love meeting with her or getting her exclamation-filled emails. She is invited to everything.

The payoffs from stressing the bright side can be considerable. In my new book, SuperCorp, I tell the story about how Maurice Levy, CEO of the global marketing company Publicis Groupe, tilted the balance in his company's favor when his firm was one of several suitors for Internet pioneer Digitas. At one point in a long courtship, Digitas hit problems, and the stock collapsed. One of Publicis's major competitors sent Digitas's head an email saying, "Now you are at a price which is affordable, so we should start speaking." Levy sent an email the same day saying, "It's so unfair that you are hurt this way because the parameters remain very good." Levy's positive energy won the prized acquisition.

2. Redefining negatives as positives. Energizers are can-do people. They do not like to stay in negative territory, even when there are things that are genuinely depressing. For example, it might seem a stretch for anyone to call unemployment as "a good time for reflection and redirection while between jobs," but some energizers genuinely stress the minor positive notes in a gloomy symphony. A marketing manager laid off by a company hit hard by the recession saw potential in people he met at a career counseling center and convinced them that they could start a service business together. He became the energizing force for shifting their definition of the situation from negative to an opportunity.

"Positive thinking" and "counting blessings" can sound like naïve cliches. But energizers are not fools. They can be shrewd analysts who know their flaws and listen carefully to critics so that they can keep improving. Studies show that optimists are more likely to listen to negative information than pessimists, because they think they can do something about it. To keep moving through storms, energizers cultivate thick skins that shed negativity like a waterproof raincoat sheds drops of water. They are sometimes discouraged, but never victims.

An entrepreneur who has built numerous businesses and incubated others had a strong personal mission to raise national standards in his industry. He began that quest by meeting individually with the heads of major industry organizations, all of whom told him that he would fail. He nodded politely, asked for a small commitment to one action anyway, just as a test, he said, and went on to the next meeting. Eight or nine meetings later, he was well along on a path everyone had tried to discourage him from taking.

3. Fast response time. Energizers don't dawdle. Energizers don't tell you all the reasons something can't be done. They just get to it. They might take time to deliberate, but they keep the action moving. They are very responsive to emails or phone calls, even if the fast response is that they can't respond yet. This helps them get more done. Because they are so responsive, others go to them for information or connections. In the process, energizers get more information and a bigger personal network, which are the assets necessary for success.

The nice thing about this form of energy is that it is potentially abundant, renewable, and free. The only requirements for energizers are that they stay active, positive, responsive, and on mission.

Are you an energizer? - Any tips you'd like to share?


Anonymous said...

How wonderful to read this first thing Sunday morning!

Some of us were sitting around last night with a newish colleague from another department who was having a rough time with a bullying supervisor supported by a manager. Bleah!

The young colleague was told not to associate with us as she'd pick up our bad habits. Too late- She arrived with them- can't seem to help focusing on the customer's needs and being willing to do anything to meet them.

We told her she could come to us anytime and we'd help her out. A number of us, including the resident guru, have been bullied sometime during our careers.

That bleak, soul-shrivelling slog turned out to be a good thing as surviving our bad experiences and pooling the lessons learned gives us insight to help the next guy in line.

'We're the rebels', we told her, 'Welcome to the club!'

Lois Gory

Trevor Gay said...

Keep rattling the cage Lois!!!

Great to know you and your peers are supporting someone who clearly has the right ideas and so sad to hear that bullies get support from their manager!

I love and endorse totally Tom Peters quote – “Life’s too short to work with jerks” and support from peers helps if someone just can’t afford to leave a job where bullying is the culture.

In the long term though something has to be done about such bullies!


A very nice read...

And would like to thank Trevor Gary for bringing out such a nice words of wisdom.

Trevor Gay said...

Many thanks Anshul and welcome to Simplicity Blog - hope to see you here again.

Best wishes


nisha said...

Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts.Any way Ill be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon


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