We are one-hundred percent responsible for the energy that we bring into a room, into our teams, and into relationships. Some individuals have titles that define them as leaders. In essence, we are all leaders because we influence others. Knowing our energy leadership levels provides us with the self-awareness that we need to become more effective in all that we do. It is worth considering the Scent of a leader: Which is yours?
“The energy of the mind is the essence of life.” Aristotle
What is Energy Leadership (EL)
The Business Dictionary defines energy as:
Measure of the ability of a body or system to do work or produce a change, expressed usually in joules or kilowatt hours (kWh). No activity is possible without energy, and its total amount in the universe is fixed. In other words, it cannot be created or destroyed but can only be changed from one type to another. The two basic types of energy are (1) Potential: energy associated with the nature, position, or state (such as chemical energy, electrical energy, nuclear energy). (2) Kinetic: energy associated with motion (such as a moving car or a spinning wheel).
Dr. Bruce Schneider developed the concept of Energy Leadership and its accompanying assessment. The Forbes Coaches Council recommends the Energy Leadership Assessment in the article 11 Assessments every executive should take.
Essentially, Energy Leadership describes our attitudes, perceptions, and perspectives. It gives us insight into what drives how we think, behave, and act.
Luke Iorio, President, and CEO of iPEC coaching wrote this:
As individuals, we view the world through filters (based on our experiences, values, assumptions, etc.). Those filters will either limit what we see (like tunnel vision) or expand what we see (like a prism) and, thus, impact how we perceive and what we think about our circumstances. This, in turn, impacts how we show up in different situations.
As Your EL Goes so Does Your Climate
It is interesting that in 360 Energy Leadership evaluations, the way a leader is perceived (rated), mirrors what raters (supervisors, direct reports, colleagues) think about the climate overall. We have seen this most recently with leaders in education who are in the MILE program. This makes absolute sense. However, seeing the data on paper affirms the compelling call for leaders to manage their energy consciously. Does this mean that as a leader improves in his or her ability to shift to higher levels of energy, then the organization improves as such? Yes, that is what the data are indicating.
Scent of a Leader
Here are the 7 Energy Levels described in terms of core thoughts, core emotions, feelings, and core actions that are associated with each. The description also provides insight as to how winning is viewed at each level.
Energy Level 1 – Victim
A leader who resonates at Level 1 energy thinks that life happens to him. The leader’s core thoughts are that they are a victim to circumstances. The feeling that emanates from his thinking is that of apathy. Passion and commitment are depleted. What ensues from this level is lethargy. A leader becomes reactive, responding to crisis after crisis. Moreover, when not in crisis mode the leader is just doing enough to get by. He believes that he never wins, no matter what. The familiar words that are expressed at this level are guilt, fear, worry, self-doubt, lack of confidence, and low self-esteem.
Energy Level 2 – Conflict
A leader who is resonating at Level 2 energy thinks that life is replete with conflict. Her core emotion is anger (which can be anywhere in the spectrum from annoyance to rage). Being contentious and defiant is what ensues from this level of energy. Regarding winning, this leader believes that others must lose so that she can win. The dominant words for this level of energy are anger, pride, antagonism, struggle, resistance, blame, frustration, and defiance.
Energy Level 3 – Responsibility
A leader who is resonating at Level 3, has responsibility on his mind. When a problem surfaces he is able to reflect on how he contributed to the problem, what he could have done differently for a better outcome. His feelings are those of forgiveness towards self and others. The actions that ensue from this energy revolve around cooperation. Moreover, regarding winning, this leader believes that he should win and it is okay for others to win as well. The outcomes for this level are rationalizing, justification, tolerance, compromise, and cooperation.
Energy Level 4 – Concern
A leader who has resonating Level 4 energy has concern for others on her mind. The feelings that prevail are those of compassion. The actions that are evident from this type of energy revolve around serving others. This leader is always helping others. Regarding winning, this leader wants others to succeed. The words that describe this energy are collaboration, team-work, loyalty, selfless service, generosity, and servant-leadership.
Energy Level 5 – Reconciliation
A leader who is experiencing Level 5 energy thinks mostly about reconciliation, making things right. The feeling that prevails for him is that of peace. This level of energy leads to confidence. It would be common for a leader who has this level of energy to often say “there is no such thing as a problem, there are only opportunities.” Regarding winning, this energy aligns with the thought that we both win or we don’t play. The words and phrases that capture the essence of this energy are choices, positivity, taking chances, confidence, fulfillment, entrepreneurial mindset, opportunity, and peace.
Energy Level 6 – Synthesis
A leader tapping into level 6 energy is one who synthesizes things. She can see the bigger picture. The feeling that she enjoys most often is one of joy. Wisdom ensues from this energy. Regarding winning she feels that everyone always win. At level 6 the words that are common are innovation, big-picture-thinking, global-thinking, creativity, satisfaction, and joy.
Energy Level 7 – Non-judgement
Leaders who resonate this level of energy on a consistent basis are a rara avis. I often ascribe this level of energy to that of an athlete in the zone, a creative in the state of flow, a monk in a heightened state of prayer, a leader in complete sync with those around him and the activity he is leading. Regarding winning, he thinks that there is no such thing as winning or losing. The words that define this level are non-judgment, creation, absolute passion, and refined intuition.
Which Energy is Better?
There is no good or bad energy. There are advantages and disadvantages to all the levels. The intention is not to eradicate specific energy from our lives, that would be unrealistic. Choose the energy that is the most productive, The goal is to “self-lead” ourselves to an energy that best serves the situation and those around us.
How to Shift Energy Levels
It is not easy to shift one’s energy. It takes a concerted effort, repeated over time to resonate at a different level of energy upon desire. Our brain is malleable and it will build new neuro-connections that make the higher levels more attainable. Here is a simple way to begin to do that. Think about the energy level you are feeling. Then identify which level would serve you better. Third act accordingly, even if you do not “feel” it. Great character is built when we can choose to do the next right thing despite our emotions and feelings.
If you want to go beyond gageing your energetic resonating level and are curious about your energy leadership levels on an average day as well as on a stressful day, you can take the Energy Leadership Index. To learn more about the individual assessment, the 360 assessment, and using the evaluation with teams, please click here.
What else can you do to shift your energetic resonating level? What can you do to change your scent of a leader to something more redolent?
iPEC Coaching (2013). Coach training manual. Shrewsbury, NJ: iPEC Coaching.
The Energy Leadership Index Debrief. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.ipeccoachcommunity.com/Student%20Resources/ELIMP/TheEnergyLeadership
What Is Energy? Definition And Meaning … (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/energy.html