The Cascading Benefits of Bringing Positive Energy with You

 In Leadership

We recently participated in a celebration of life for a close friend who had passed away.

As I and other participants reflected on our departed friend’s impact on our lives, the primary theme that emerged was that he was a source of positive energy. Whether he was debating a contentious issue or dealing with a more upbeat subject, he was an uplifting presence.

This got me thinking about the cascading effect of bringing positive energy into any interaction, gathering or relationship. Simply by “walking into” the room with a sense of positive energy, you shift the mood and expectations of the people you touch.

To be clear, I’m not talking about unrealistic optimism or the denial of genuine human emotions, like frustration, sadness or fear.

I’m simply suggesting that even in the face of major challenges, you can walk into a room with positive energy, ready to try—if you can—to make things better.

Imagine two people who each lead a team confronted with nearly identical problems. The first person convenes the meeting by venting his anger and assigning blame.

The second takes a different approach. He begins with a genuine smile and says, “I’m glad you all made time to be here. We’re facing a tough challenge and I’m really going to need each of your time and talents.”

The problem doesn’t change. The collected talents of each team don’t change. All that changes is whether the first person to speak brings positive or negative energy.

Here’s how Emma Seppälä and Kim Cameron put it last month in Harvard Business Review: the greatest predictor of success for leaders is not their charisma, influence, or power. It is not personality, attractiveness, or innovative genius. The one thing that supersedes all these factors is positive relational energy: the energy exchanged between people that helps uplift, enthuse, and renew them.

You can’t change every event and outcome to meet your desired ideal, but you can shift the energy you bring to each challenge and opportunity.

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