How you think and behave could be draining the life force from your colleagues, warns Jan Hills

When it’s cold and dark and it seems a long time until summer your energy levels can drop. In work this can be challenging especially when people are finding it hard to get back into the swing of things, as I’ve said in a previous opinion piece for People Management.

The more we learn about organisational energy the clearer it is that what you do, how you think and the quality of your interactions with others all have a major impact on the energy of the people you work with.

So here are eight everyday habits that are useful when you want to enhance energy levels in your team. One thing to think about is that people can and do choose to act on behavioural habits that have a striking effect on other people’s energy.

Enhance relationships in day-to-day work
Ask people about their life outside work and ensure you know what matters to them. By showing interest and concern for others and building connections beyond work-related roles you foster trust between colleagues.

Honour your commitments
Do you always do what you say you’re going to do? People are de-energised by lack of follow-through. In HR this really matters across parts of the function, for example promising a co-worker in shared services that you will brief them on an upcoming initiative and then just sending a brief email impacts the relationship and their energy.

Talk about your own purpose and how it relates to the business
People are energised when others stand for something larger than themselves and set high standards. This is an easy one to forget when you are busy running from one piece of work to the next. Stopping and explaining what your purpose is may seem like a waste of time when you have internal clients calling and several major project to manage but it’s the only way others can connect with what you are trying to achieve and it also help others to be motivated by joining with your purpose.

Look for possibilities rather than identifying problems
De-energisers keep ideas from ever getting off the ground by seeing only obstacles to success. We know part of the role of HR is to ensure everything runs smoothly with processes, and one way to help achieve this is to ensure potential problem are noticed and nipped in the bud. But focusing on the negative can become a habit, and it’s draining.

When you disagree with someone focus on the issue
Don’t allow differences of opinion to become personal. Energisers are able to disagree with an idea while not marginalising the person who presented it.

Focus during meetings and conversations
Rather than going through the motions of being engaged, energisers physically and mentally show their interest in the person and the topic of conversation. So don’t check your emails during the meeting, zone out or start thinking about your to do list, other people will notice.

Be open to other people’s ideas and new ways of solving an issue
Energisers draw people into conversations and projects by finding opportunities for them to contribute.

Encourage and enable buy-in from others
Try to do this even when you know the answer or think you know the answer. Experts or leaders can easily and accidentally destroy energy in their haste to find a solution or demonstrate their knowledge. Energisers don’t feel the need to always demonstrate their expertise they are happy to sponsor others and to allow others to demonstrate their worth.

It’s easy to forget the impact of de-energising work habits and while it can be tough to change a habit the science is showing us how it’s possible.

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