When I was leaving my previous company, my coworkers organized an unexpected and moving goodbye get-together. During that meeting, one of my colleagues named, very aptly, the one thing she and the other people thought I had always contributed to the company: Agata thanked me for the energy I was always putting into the team, every day during my cooperation with the firm. These words immediately became a great inspiration for me. Yes, now you know why I chose “Rite NRG,” and not some other name for my current project. But of course, it is not about the words, names, or labels. For me, it goes much deeper.
What does it mean to be a leader and what, fundamentally, a leader’s job is? While the tasks list is neverending, naturally (so there’s directing, motivating, inspiring, and recruiting, among many others), the essence of a leader’s role is to share their energy with the people around them. To refuel it regularly. To be the source of it, whenever the team needs it. That’s what a leader’s job is to me.
Truth is, this friendly and pleasant goodbye meeting, a simple thing one might think, was in fact a crucial event for me, something that struck a chord and even shaped me. The CEO title in my mind, therefore, no longer was the Chief Executive Officer, but right then and there became, much more accurately, the Chief Energy Officer.
‘Everything is energy and that’s all there is to it … It can be no other way. This is not philosophy. This is physics.’
ALBERT EINSTEIN, NOBEL PRIZE-WINNING PHYSICIST
And there’s no question that no other resource is more valuable for humans than energy. This is why we should burn it only for the things that are most important to us.
When becoming a leader, you should be aware that what your people are looking for in your role is that you should be encouraging, inspiring, positive, and supportive, alongside being kind, calm, fair, decisive, and visionary. I didn’t make up this list: this is what research shows. And so, rather than merely pointing out what needs to be done and simply voicing their expectations, leaders should use their own positive energy to boost their people’s self-confidence. Their positive attitude, determination, and optimism are the key ingredients for their employees’ success. It’s your faith and your strength that will fuel your people’s energy.
A satisfied workforce is a productive workforce.
Richard Branson once famously said, “Take care of your employees, and they’ll take care of your business.” Such a simple and scalable way to be successful, isn’t it? Just kidding. It is not easy, not at all.
The truth is, employees want to follow their leaders not because of what the leaders actually do, but because they make their people feel appreciated and rewarded for their contributions and hard work. It is of course possible to measure it if you want to check whether you’re doing the right thing. You can investigate it in a formal way, by putting the proper assessment program in place or by running a questionnaire (i.e. eNPS survey), which will show you exactly, in percentages, how it looks in your case. But most of all, if you’re hearing from your team, that they truly feel your support, this is when you are going in the right direction.