An Affective Workforce Requires Energy and Vitality

When an employee exhibits energy and vitality, it has an impact on the customer. As a case in point: I was shopping for pillows on Saturday and was served by a lady who was energetic, engaging, and enthusiastic. She also knew everything about the products in the store and was able to help me choose the best pillow to improve my sleep quality. I even commented that she must be getting very good nights of sleep and is a great advertisement for the product she sells.

I then moved on to a health shop (ironically), looking for a particular type of protein powder. The youth who was manning the store stayed seated behind the counter and when I asked if they had any of the product, he pointed me in the general direction and then turned back to his phone. His disinterest and low energy were palpable, and I couldn’t get out of the store fast enough.

The appointment action carries with it a certain excitement and there is strong anticipation energy. The employer has a heightened expectation that they have found the ideal candidate to fill the position as soon as possible and benefit from the additional productivity. The potential candidate has been looking for an opportunity and is excited at the prospect of working for the organisation and the personal benefits that will accrue from the position.

Naturally, the appointment enhances the new starter’s energy levels because it is novel and exciting. Unfortunately for the new employee, what often happens is that when the novelty of the new position wears off and the demands of the job involve long hours and other energy-draining aspects, the individual’s energy reserves decline – unless they have an internal locus of control. This means they do not look to the organisation and external environment as a source of energy and vitality, they look inward and take responsibility. This different perspective stimulates the drive to implement action toward improving their situation.

This internal drive to take responsibility for one’s circumstances is what we should be fostering in our organisations. We should be coaching people to identify areas in their life that are sucking their energy and to develop and implement plans of action to work on the affected areas. Although the responsibility for doing things differently lies with the individual, the organisation can align to support them to reach their goals and find the sweet spot of sustaining higher energy and engagement in their life.

Examples of such support include:

  • Allowing time for exercise or personal development activities.
  • Accountability buddies as colleagues
  • Coaching to prepare for difficult conversations
  • Healthy eating options in the cafeteria
  • Financial coaching
  • Appreciation and acknowledgement platforms
  • Celebration of successes

The energy of your employees is crucial to your business because human beings cannot perform optimally when their energy is depleted or on low reserves. Our lives have multiple facets, including health, vocation, friends and family, growth opportunities, finance, spirituality, and emotional well-being. If any one or more of these areas are affected, we may become demotivated and overwhelmed, which will have an impact on our productivity.  

Slight changes to lifestyle choices and environment have a knock-on effect on how we show up. When we feel in control and that we are responsible for what we create, our dependency on others for our well-being declines. And so we develop the ability to look inward and identify the areas that need attention, plan for making a change, and then try out incremental actions.

Conscious leadership is about maximising human potential. It is acknowledging what it is to be human and strengthening the phenomenal potential in everyone. Imagine the impact on our communities if every organisation invested in supporting employees to thrive and develop their internal locus of control. Yes, it takes effort and affects the amount of time the employee is working. However, I would argue that a demotivated, disengaged, low-energy employee is only working half the time anyway.