Channelling Energy for Inspirational Leadership

Most of us respond to rising demands in the workplace by putting in longer hours, which inevitably take a toll on us physically, mentally, and emotionally. That leads to declining levels of engagement, increasing levels of distraction, high turnover rates, and soaring medical costs.

The core problem with working longer hours is that time is a finite resource. Energy is a different story.

In these times of fast-moving change and troubled economies, company leaders are increasingly challenged to find new and effective ways of energising themselves and engaging their employees. Inspirational leadership continues to be one of the most valuable skills required by today’s corporate leaders.

Leading is a conscious act of energetic purpose which can be described as the directing, focusing, or shaping of energy towards a desired objective. Skilful leaders sense which type of energy is present in their organisation and know how to use it to facilitate change, enable growth, and empower their teams to achieve the company’s objectives.


Organisational energy begins with leadership energy. The potential for increasing the energy within an organisation resides within every employee, and tapping into and releasing that energy is a task for the organisation’s leaders. If the leadership team is energised, the organisation will perform at higher levels. Employees will become inspired, passionate, and willing to go the extra mile for the company to be successful. Energised employees, in turn, motivate customers to take their business relationship with the organisation to the next level.

To effectively re-energise their workforces, organisations need to shift their emphasis from getting more out of people to investing more in them, so they are motivated—and able—to bring more of themselves to work every day. To recharge themselves, individuals need to recognise the costs of energy-depleting behaviours and then take responsibility for changing them, regardless of the circumstances they’re facing.

The Human Spirit: Energy of Meaning and Purpose

People tap into the energy of the human spirit when their everyday work and activities are consistent with what they value most – that gives them a sense of meaning and purpose. The courage and persistence to keep going on, past hurdles and obstacles, is powered by purpose.

I believe that we all search for meaningful purpose in our lives and our working lives are no different. Purpose activates us, it motivates us, and it invigorates us. Purpose helps us through the hard times, it gives us something to strive towards and it moves us to get up in the morning. Humans are at their very best when they find their purpose, and when humans are at their best, they tend to run or work in extraordinarily successful businesses.

It takes Guts

It takes guts to look at a situation with new eyes, but if you do not, you will be sucked into old ways of thinking and communicating that simply depletes your energy.  It takes guts to decide to be relentlessly solution focused and to look at every problem as the conduit to a brilliant solution.  It takes guts to wait for the automatic fight or flight stress reaction to pass, so that you can focus on using the problem in a way that takes you forward.  The caveat remains, that each gutsy move, each time you circumvent fight or flight and think in a new way, you are developing improved focus, strategic thought, ideation, and upping your ability to learn and re-learn.

Anchor Yourself

To survive the turbulent seas of a change initiative, you need to find ways to steady and stabilise yourself. First, you must establish a safe harbour where each day you can reflect on the previous day’s journey, repair the psychological damage you have incurred, renew your stores of emotional resources, and recalibrate your moral compass. Your haven might be a physical place, such as the kitchen table of a friend’s house, or a regular routine, such as going to gym after work. Whatever the sanctuary, you need to use and protect it.

The Emotions: Quality of Energy

Emotional Energy (EQ) is the energy that builds rapport with others, connects with people, and provides passion and interest. Our emotional energy is how well we build relationships, how much we understand things from another’s perspective.

When people are able to take more control of their emotions, they can improve the quality of their energy, regardless of the external pressures they’re facing. To do this, they first must become more aware of how they feel at various points during the workday and of the impact these emotions have on their effectiveness. Most people realise that they tend to perform best when they’re feeling positive energy. What they find surprising is that they’re not able to perform well or to lead effectively when they’re feeling any other way.

When executives learn to recognise what kinds of events trigger their negative emotions, they gain greater capacity to take control of their reactions.

One simple but powerful ritual for defusing negative emotions is what we call “buying time.” Deep abdominal breathing is one way to do that. Exhaling slowly for five or six seconds induces relaxation and recovery, and turns off the fight-or-flight response.

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