Time and again, you’ve seen it. Two departments in an organization face the same types of challenges: high pressure, lots of change and big demands to produce. One department steps up to the plate with energy and enthusiasm; one need only walk through the office to get the sense that to these employees anything is possible.
But, when you walk through the other department, you “feel” an entirely different type of “energy.” Tension is high. People don’t seem to get along with one another, and you sense that no one wants to be there. Compared to employees who are motivated, disengaged workers are less efficient, miss more workdays and cost their employers thousands of dollars in lost productivity.
What is the difference between these two?: environment. Company culture and environment matters. It can be the catalyst to unleash productivity, creativity, inspired action and it starts with leadership. It is leadership that can create a happy, dynamic workplace, where employees feel respected, appreciated, inspired. “Feeling inspired by leadership” is a key differentiator for the millennial generation when they choose where to work.
This concept goes beyond a couple of team building exercises, quarterly meetings, and rewriting a mission statement. It is foundational in every action, word and deed across the organization. It is “felt” in the environment, the minute you walk in the front door of a company. You can feel the energy, and positive or negative, it’s palpable and contagious.
Modern leadership styles are changing. There is a shift from leading from the head to the heart. The style of “command and control” leadership is evolving to a place of empathy, fearlessness, ethics, and compassion.
Ursula Burns, CEO of Xerox who is responsible for turning around the dying company when she took the helm in 2009 and with the acquisition of ACS and other Innovative efforts, they are thriving again. She was the genesis of the “bold empath” style of leadership; fearlessness, vision, love and purpose.
Howard Shultz; CEO of Starbucks, brought the company back from the brink of ruin just after the recession to one the most dramatic growth periods in the company’s history. His book “Onward” details the journey to save the companies’ “soul” over a two year period where the stock price tripled. He did this while maintaining health benefits for all employees despite intense stockholder pressure to cut them, and getting back to their roots and “their love of the customer.”
Richard Branson, the Founder of the Virgin Brand, states he employees are like his family. His secret to success is to “have fun” to “praise more than you criticize” and that “purpose is more powerful than profit.”
All of these leaders exemplify an approach that is from the heart, fearless, positive and that energy pervades the entire organization. Fear, the opposite of this style, is the worst impediment to an empowered, creative, purposeful workforce. It has an energy that can pervade and potentially cripple a company.
Energy is the life blood of an organization and it’s workforce. When energy is positive, workers are more creative, less stressed, and empowered. There is a balance that enables high productivity levels and peak performance which yields growth and profitability.
The good news is energy can be changed or shifted in an organization, therefore, creating a happier, more dynamic workplace and healthier outlook on the future. There are business strategy practioners who provide this type of coaching and mentoring and work through change management to create a positive working environment.
The world of work and how, why, and where we work is changing rapidly. Understanding how to create an environment that will empower, inspire and enable optimum productivity in your workforce will put you ahead of the competition and ensure happy shareholders.
Terri Gallagher is the President/CEO of Gallagher and Consultants; She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org