The Best Leaders Have a Contagious Positive Energy

This post references the HBR article titled “The Best Leaders Have a Contagious Positive Energy” by Emma Seppälä and Kim Cameron.

Take a few minutes to read the whole article here, but one of the key takeaways for me in the value of emotional intelligence and empathy, informing your engaged leadership style. We are all hungry for leaders who care and have a positive energy, you see it in high performing teams where there is an associated high degree of trust. The effort required to project energy and enthusiasm is well worth the investment, but it must be authentic – not the cheerleader style that is empty of real engagement.

Energizers’ greatest secret is that, by uplifting others through authentic, values-based leadership, they end up lifting up both themselves and their organizations. Positive energizers demonstrate and cultivate virtuous actions, including forgiveness, compassion, humility, kindness, trust, integrity, honesty, generosity, gratitude, and recognition in the organization. As a result, everyone flourishes.

HBR – the Best Leaders Havea Contagious Positive Energy

What makes a good manager?

A project at Google spent time researching what defines a great manager at Google, and through that identified the top 10 traits to grow. As listed they are:

  1. Is a good coach
  2. Empowers team and does not micromanage
  3. Creates an inclusive team environment, showing concern for success and well-being
  4. Is productive and results-oriented
  5. Is a good communicator–listens and shares information
  6. Supports career development and discusses performance
  7. Has a clear vision/strategy for the team
  8. Has key technical skills to help advise the team
  9. Collaborates effectively
  10. Is a strong decision maker

The last two were new additions to the list, and I believe reflect the need to both reach out to your broader organization to expand your thinking, while simultaneously understanding when the time has come to step in and drive to a decision – the leadership courage to make a decision in the face of a constantly shifting landscape, and then stand by and manage through that decision.

as our company grew in size and complexity, demands on our managers and leaders increased as well. From the results of our employee survey we learned that Googlers wanted to see more effective cross-organization collaboration and stronger decision making practices from leaders

– Google Article

As the Google team identified, there is a need for decisive leadership in a time where we are bombarded with more and more data and “facts” or opinions on every decision to be taken – this coupled with FOMO (Fear of missing out) can lead to a situation where teams spend an unfortunate amount of time in the unproductive state of spinning. This leads to a negative impact on moral and reduces productivity. Contrary to that, a decisive leader, who empowers a good team and uses strong communication skills to get thoughts drawn out from the team and discussed, often has the facts actually required for the decision in the first day of deliberation! The ability to collaborate quickly and communicate the rational, get confirmation and drive to the decision is the real differentiator and the combination for real productivity!