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Four tips to give your team more energy

Energy (or lack of it) is very telling. But we're not always great at noticing when it's there and when it's not

Have you ever sat in a meeting you thought was never going to end? And wondered why you were even there in the first place?

Are you frustrated with 'glass half empty' team members who whinge and whine… and don't take responsibility?

Ever wanted to scream as people drone through their slide presentation (which you can't read anyway)?

Ever wondered why everyone agreed to come back to you with some ideas - and nobody did?

Yes, me too!

Energy (or lack of it) is very telling. But we're not always great at noticing when it's there and when it's not. Which is a shame, because noticing where the energy is - and doing something with that knowledge - is a key leadership skill.

If you manage a team - you need to be very aware of energy.

So if you're faced with any of the above scenarios, here's what you can do about it:

  1. Meetings should NEVER last more than 2 hours without a break. And I mean a PROPER break to move around. NOT to check your texts or emails. This physical exercise stimulates the brain and improves our cognitive functioning, which means our meeting will continue to be productive and everyone will be re-energised. It goes without saying that you should make sure everyone has equal air time, start and finish on time and stay focused on the tasks on the agenda.
  2. Whingers and whiners (or energy vampires as I like to call them) need to be dealt with. But first, seek to understand. What is it, fundamentally, that is making them whinge? Find out. And then see what you can BOTH do to change it - as a manager it might be something you need to do differently. But team members need to take responsibility too. We are all in charge of our own lives. Don't let this be an elephant in the room that everyone else is silently praying that you will deal with. Deal with it!
  3. Ban slide presentations - yes, really. Or have a maximum five-slide rule. Poor presenters hide behind reams of data. Great presenters don't need all that waffle. Watch any Ted Talk and you'll see what I mean. And Ted Talks don't last longer than 20 minutes. Your presentations shouldn't either.
  4. When I work with teams and observe their team meetings, I sometimes notice everyone's agreement to do a specific task. But I don't get a sense of any real commitment. The lack of energy gives this away (which is why they don't deliver). What to do? Name it! Say something like: 'I can see agreement here but I'm not sure you're really committed. What do we need to do to make sure we are committed to this - really committed?'

Energy isn't necessarily loud and noisy. Energy can be quiet - but when you know to look out for it, it's easy to see when it's there - and when it's not.

If all else fails, ask the team: 'Where's the energy right now?'

They'll tell you. And that will help you know what to do next. 


Lynn Scott

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