One of the most important jobs of a leader is to infuse a team or an organization with energy.
Energy gives the team direction, motivation and the drive to succeed at all cost.
The problem is that sometimes a leader thinks they are creating energy for the team, when in fact all they are producing is urgency.
Urgency and energy are not the same thing.
Whereas energy is the driving force that creates forward movement, urgency, by contrast is a pale imitation. Urgency can look and feel like energy, but it is a very different animal and can burn out a team.
How can you tell if you are creating real energy, versus the counterfeit of mere urgency?
There are at least three ways you can tell.
1. Urgency is driven by deadlines. Energy is driven by outcomes
You can create all the urgency you’ll ever want simply by constantly placing your team up against tight deadlines. Place a deadline sooner than can reasonably achieved and watch the fur fly.
But real energy, by contrast, is quite different. It is created not out of a sometimes artificially created deadline, but out of a shared, deep desire to see the team’s outcomes achieved.
2. Urgency creates short-term excitement. Energy creates sustaining momentum.
I won’t lie to you. Urgency feels great. It can create a palpable euphoria in the team.
But it is almost always short-lived. As soon as the temporary crisis comes and goes, as soon as the deadline passes, it can be like experiencing a team-wide sugar crash.
Whereas genuine energy doesn’t nose-dive; it continues to build over time, resulting in ever-increasing momentum.
3. Urgency produces panic. Energy produces resolve.
Take the mood-pulse of your team. Is it characterized increasingly by a sense of panic?
Chances are they are running on panic, fueled by urgency.
On the other hand if the tenor of your team is one of resolve, steadfast determination and conviction, it’s a good indication that they are not being fueled by mere urgency; it would indicate that your leadership is producing instead authentic energy.
So resist the temptation to settle for mere urgency and focus your leadership on long-term sustainable results.
That’s worth an infusion of energy any day.
How do you create energy for your team?