Energy Fields – 7 Types Leaders Can Recognize

An important leadership skill is the ability to recognize energy fields. This means identifying how relationships exist in space and time. In other words, a good leader can identify two energy fields at the time of interactions:

  • What is in the space
  • What is trying to emerge in that space

Whether a team is in person or over the phone, you and others create an energy field. And tuning into this field allows you to gather valuable information. The questions are these:

  • How do you gather that information?
  • How do you assess what you have tapped into?

Tools for Tapping into the Energy Fields

Think of tapping into the fields as a type of listening. This listening goes beyond your ears to involve the rest of your body. It also uses all of your senses, including the sixth.

  • Observe words, body languages, tones and postures.
  • Notice attitudes, energy levels and emotions.
  • Tap into what is not being said and how the silence lands.
  • Detect connectedness or lack of it.

Let me shed light on 7 types of energy fields from which you will be leading.

7 Types of Energy Fields to Understand

  • The Merry-Go-Round – There is a lot of trying in the space. And in that trying is round and round movement with confusion and frustration. The team is holding back and not going anywhere.
  • The Eggshell – There is a feeling of tentativeness and carefulness in the space. Politeness and political correctness show up. A desire to be agreeable and right is present. The team is guarded, watching what they say and do.
  • The Threshold – There is a feeling of heat in the space. Anger, aggressiveness and /or rebellion are felt. The team is tense, on edge, and ready to boiling over.
  • The Dead Zone – There is a lack of energy in space. The arc has long passed its peak. Tolerating and enduring are characteristics on display. The team is flat-lined and bored.
  • The Sunny Side Up – There is a feeling of delight in the space. Playfulness and excitement abound. Laughter fills the airwaves. The team is inspired and energized.
  • The Voyage – There is a feeling of possibility and a sense of adventure in the space. Focus and exploration permeate. The team is curious and engaged.
  • The Mountain Top – There is a feeling of clarity and crispness in the space. Things are in-focus and well-defined. The team is connected and absorbed.
  • The Gratification – There is a feeling joy and reverence in the space. A sense of accomplishment and satisfaction comes through. The team is cohesive, eager and in flow.

With awareness, you can assess the energy fields being created. These assessment will enable you to lead one of two ways: by matching the energy fields or shifting them. Recognizing and working with what’s in the space and trying to emerge in that space is an important skill to develop.

How to Keep Yourself on Task and Be Present for Others

Being present is a key leadership trait: present to others, present to the priorities, present to the tasks at hand and present to what is unfolding in the moment. Often times, it is a juggling act to determine where to place your presence in the moment. That’s true especially when it comes to others.

As a leader, you know people deserve 100% of your attention. And yet it is not always possible to shift gears and be the present for the open door policy. How is the conflict between a priority that has your focus and a knock at your door best handled?

Knowing when an open door lacks being present

I was “raised” at IBM where the open door policy was taken seriously. It was a management policy to respect the individual, build trust and foster collaboration. As such, my door was open so people could drop in to provide me with an update, meet at the spur of the moment, ask a question or brainstorm a problem.

Always, I dropped what I was doing when there was a knock at my door. And many times, I was not present to who had knocked. My mind was still focused on the task from I had dropped in order to respond to the knock.

In truth, I was not always able to switch gears to give my undivided attention. As a result, I wasn’t at my best as a listener, sounding board or problem solver. And if I knew it, the person utilizing the open door knew it.

Sound familiar? It wasn’t until I was assessing management training for our staff that I understood there was another way. In that curriculum, the class on being present suggested a better way while still respecting the individual, building trust and fostering collaboration.

Handling the open door and being present

Managing with an open door policy is a good thing, but it doesn’t have to mean your open door takes precedence over what you may be knee-deep in at the moment. Feeling obligated to drop what you are doing and turn your attention toward the person who has walked in asking “Do you have a minute?” can backfire.

The point is to be present with that person, providing undivided attention to the issue at hand. Sometimes that may not be possible if your mind is deep in thought on a task, whether it be modeling in a spreadsheet, responding to a thorny email, or creating an ROI presentation.

Give yourself permission to be honest by saying, “You deserve my undivided attention, and right now I would be distracted by the work I am doing. Give me 15 minutes and I’ll come down to your office. Will that work for you?”

If it is an urgent situation, the person will let you know. More than likely, it will be acceptable. People know when you are not present and distracted. Most would rather have 100% of your attention than 50% of it out of an obligation to be ready when called upon.

How do you keep yourself on the task at hand and be present for others?

Time Off: 4 Principles for Leaving Others in Charge

Summer is here which for many of you means time off for a vacation. And for some who will be heading out on
vacation, that reality comes with a heavy sigh at thoughts of leaving the office behind. How will the work get done? Who will handle what needs to be handled? When will digging out from under ever be worth the time away?

Those questions paint the reality of our “being too busy” culture. And yet time off is an essential part of a self-care regime. According to Dr. Starla Fitch author of Remedy for Burnout, “when we don’t really step away and recharge, we’re just pretending.”

Part of your humanness is the need to renew. And when you don’t really step away and recharge, you fail to honor your needs for spending and recovering energy. Study after study reveals the importance in taking time off for well-being, health, creativity and connection. The good news is that you can take the summer vacation and leave the office behind. How?

4 People Principles to Use During  Time Off

Have confidence that others are capable of stepping up: Believing that you are the only one qualified to do the job properly does not validate those who work for you. Nor does it speak to your ability as a leader to develop your people.

You should have a least one member of your team who is ready and willing to serve as a single point of contact during your absence. You should also have confidence in selecting representatives for the various recurring meetings you attend. While they will not do the job exactly as you do it, they will do an ample job to keep things moving forward in your absence and shed a positive light on your organization.

Give your authority and responsibilities to those on your team: As a leader, your responsibilities include talent development and employee engagement. One way to do that is to delegate during your absence.

As you give authority and responsibility, you are doing three things:

  • Stretching their skills and judgment
  • Exposing them to people they might not regularly interact with
  • Enabling them to see a broader perspective of the business.

Moreover, you are endorsing your team member’s abilities and expertise while demonstrating confidence in the accountability you are assigning.

Model the behavior you want to see throughout the organization: Recognizing and acknowledging the research showing that strategic renewal is critical to boosting productivity, job performance and overall well-being is best done by taking time off. When you step away and return rested and rejuvenated, you model that vacation time provides fuel for energy, creativity, and focus – all elements of success in your environment. In other words, you talk the talk and walk the walk, giving others in your group to do the same.

Express gratitude for those stepping up: As you prepare to leave, note with gratitude your team member’s willingness to step up. The extra work and additional responsibilities your team takes on should be valued. Acknowledging them for their efforts and appreciating what they accomplished while you were away should be something you look forward to upon your return.

How well prepared is your team to step up? What can you do as a leader to ensure these four strategies are easily employed when it’s time for your summer vacation?