Leadership – Energy

The capacity to maintain a demanding role “with healthy vigour and an upbeat attitude through good times and bad” is without question a vital skillset (Welch et al, 2006). Trait research shows that energy levels, physical stamina and stress tolerance are associated with managerial effectiveness, particularly relevant in situations such as:

  • Dealing with punitive stakeholders
  • Dealing with stressful situations
  • Calmness while supporting staff under pressure
  • Confrontation and dealing with problematic issues
  • Resistance associated with change or business transformation
  • Communicating effectively
  • Conveying confidence in all situations

Energy fuels the ability to motivate and synergize followers. Stress can be positive or negative. Eustress, is the pleasurable stress that accompanies positive events which excites and energizes; Distress on the other hand is the unpleasant stress that accompanies negative events. This type of stress crushes and oppresses if not managed correctly. The wellness paradigm indicates milestones along the wellness continuum. Leaders who aim to maintain a position of neutrality, preferably towards the right hand side of the wellness scale, robustly defend their mental state and energy levels. Habitual activities like exercise, meditation, relaxation, assertiveness and counselling are common techniques for stress management and energy preservation.

One of the biggest challenges for modern leaders is to manage the ever expanding list of actions, most of which could be outsourced or discarded. In Good to Great, Jim Collins noted that: “Most of us lead busy but undisciplined lives. We have ever-expanding ‘to do’ lists, trying to build momentum by doing, doing, doing – and doing more. And it rarely works. Those who built the good-to-great companies, however, made as much use of ‘stop doing’ lists as ‘to do’ lists” (Collins, 2011). Here Collins correlates trait dependencies by applying Intelligence through smart elimination of tasks, thus promoting Stress Management and protecting energy levels in the process.

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