One of the angles from which I approach leadership and team development is that of energy. Viewing all interactions with others in an energetic sense is merely one of many views available. It is similar to wearing polarized sunglasses. When wearing glasses with polarized lenses, unless you turn your head at the right angle you cannot always see the electronic display on some instruments.
In an analogous fashion, if you work to attune your awareness you can begin to follow the flow of energy between you and your team members. I believe that it is important to balance the flow of energy in both directions—away from you and toward you.
It is clearly important that, as a leader, you are able to communicate your vision and provide guidance. This is energy flowing away from you. Similarly, it is important for you to listen and gather information and ideas from your team members as well as your superiors. This is energy flowing toward you.
Body language is an important part of our communication. You might consider trying to observe your body language as you interact with your team members. Do you appear open, or overbearing? Is your body language congruent with what you speak? When your body language indicates strength or force you are sending energy out, when your body appears open you are saying, in effect, that it is OK for the other person to speak and send energy your way.
Finally, where do your exchanges take place? Always in your office or a conference room? How often do you go to your team member’s desk? In general, your office will be perceived as a place of power, a place where the energy will flow from you. When you go to your team member’s office it is more a signal of energy flowing to you, although any actions on your part may thwart that flow and reverse it.
Balancing this flow of energy is difficult to maintain, particularly when leading virtual teams. As with most things, practice helps. Observe yourself as you interact with team members and superiors. After a while it will likely become second nature.
Observe energy flow:
- During verbal exchanges
- With team members and superiors
- In different locations
- With body language
- Of information and ideas
Keywords: leadership, balance, energy, flow, trust
- Ferrari, B. T. (2012). The executive’s guide to better listening. McKinsey Quarterly.