In my previous post, I talked about how to inspire your team by asking 6 questions. Having your people see your exciting view of the future and how it involves them is an important driver of their performance. Today I want to talk about how a person’s energy level affects their performance.
Did you know that on average, people spend only 17% of their day working in areas where they have high energy? That means that most people spend 83% of their day working in areas where they have low energy. (This stat is from research done by Marcus Buckingham, a well-known business speaker, trainer and author, and the Gallup organization — a highly respected research and publishing company).
Understanding a person’s energy level for their discipline is an important indicator of their future performance. High energy in a particular discipline doesn’t necessarily mean that you are good at it; if you haven’t been trained, your work might not yet be adequate, but if you’re motivated and inspired by the type of work that you’re performing, you will likely adapt more quickly and enjoy more consistently the learning, growing and improvement that comes with any work.
It’s also possible to be very good at a discipline for which you have very low energy. This would imply that you are using a lot of energy every day, and you are inclined to burn out. Even though you might be doing a good job, it may not be an area where you have a lot of energy to expend over a long period of time and eventually your potential for seeking a change, lowering your level of performance and sensing an overall feeling of defeat is much greater. Unfortunately, most people spend the majority of their day in this area of low energy.
Once you understand the high and low energy areas for each of your team members, you’ll have a clearer picture of why they might get tired, angry, and frustrated consistently over time in their job.
And when you understand that, it’s much easier to turn their inspiration into high performance.
Coaching for Varying Energy Levels
To understand your people’s energy levels, you need to review their results from select validated assessments. These assessments aren’t expensive to take, and I highly recommend using the following:
- Multi-Health Systems EQ-i® Assessment
- The WorkPlace Big Five Profile™ 4.0
- The WorkPlace Motivators
If one of your key employees was close to running out of gas, would you be able to determine on your own whether it was from hitting the peak of their ability, or simply from being exhausted?
As a manager or leader, your responsibility is to move your people from Point A to Point B. If two people are stuck at Point A, getting them to Point B might require different approaches, depending on their energy levels and personality traits.
The results of the above assessments will tell you where a person’s energy levels are. When you combine that with your own experience with that person and a simple coaching diagram, you have a roadmap for getting that person back into the high energy areas that inspire them and improving their performance.
Take a look at the following diagram:
Energy levels + personality traits + your experiences with them will tell you which of four distinct positional quadrants that person is occupying at any given point in time.
Here’s a cheat sheet on how to coach someone based on their current quadrant:
- If someone is not pulling his weight, they need support.
- If someone is doing well but stressed, you take note and proceed with caution.
- If someone is hitting their goals and doing a good job, but not fulfilling their potential, you must provide training development.
- If someone is exceeding their goals and your expectations for them, make certain they are being challenged in the right way and recognize that this is a great opportunity for both you and for them to capitalize.
It’s critical to keep your people operating in their high energy areas for this reason:
Most people truly don’t work because they want to get rich; money will neither attract the best people or the best in people. They prefer to do it because they find their jobs stimulating, engaging, and rewarding. They do it because they enjoy feeling appreciated and on track with their lives. These factors are far more motivating for many people than is money or power. There are exceptions, but the overwhelming majority of people would rather do something that engages and energizes them, even if the alternative might have a bigger paycheck.
Jim Collins’ work in Good to Great coined the popular term “get the right people on the bus.” Getting them on the bus is half the battle. They still have to be managed.
Proper coaching based on scientific facts is the most effective way to achieve this. Once thought of as a “soft skill,” the ability to assess these characteristics is becoming more quantifiable in many professions—especially in leadership roles—and they play a significant role in overall job success. If you are not doing this more intentionally and with greater focus, you are losing a competitive advantage that your competition might already be progressing on.
The content of this post references Concept #2: You have the ability to take the guesswork out of managing your people from my book titled ShortTrack CEO. If you haven’t read it, you can download it and then turn to pages 73-76.
If you’d like to have your team take the assessments, contact me to schedule.