Most of us relish the newness of January, when the calendar conspires with us to ramp up energies again. And that ramping-up is very inclusive, corralling all energies, whether personal, professional, or randomly inspired.
Then we go back to work.
My coaching will always reveal a manager or two who grumbles about January’s scattering of attention: They’ll say things like, “We need to get back to business.” and they ask, “How can we move to what’s next, when so much remains undone and poorly finished?”
For some reason, that ‘manager or two’ grew to six or seven this year, and so I wonder: Are you in their company? Did January come much too soon for you? Are you feeling more unsettled, and less excited? Let’s talk about it.
Alaka‘i Managers Channel Good Energy
It’s best to nalu it right now — go with the flow, and work on constructing new pathways. Energy is a resource, a magnificent one! Grab hold of it and milk it for all it’s worth!
Workplace energy functions the same way batteries do for your favorite electronics: You can have the most high tech camera in the world, and it will do absolutely nothing if its battery is dead.
I LOVE looking at the M / L complement through this energy comparison, creating (L) and then channeling (M):
LEADERSHIP is the workplace discipline of creating energy connected to a meaningful vision.
MANAGEMENT is the workplace discipline of channeling that mission-critical energy into optimal production and usefulness.
Great managers cannot channel good energies they are unaware of, or energy which doesn’t exist.
— from a conversation we once had on Talking Story
Any scattering of workplace attention is a golden opportunity for an Alaka‘i Manager to step in, and be welcomed for doing so. You’re the one everyone else relies on to have the Big Picture, and to rally the forces so the good of Vision will triumph as important and meaningful work.
So repeat after me: Energy is a resource, and I’m making it mine!
Start by Identifying that Energy
Usually, getting organized is the first order of business, and to do that, you have to organize people. Make yourself available to everyone on your team for some meaningful one-on-one conversations — what are they thinking right now? Do you know? What are they excited about, and why? You’ve got to make those discoveries so you can channel workplace energies in the best possible way.
The worst thing you can do the New Year, is to be a damper on the emerging energies of your team: Let them flow, and direct them well. Step in to help channel them productively so they can secure small but early wins — harness those energies, and put them to work where you can use them, and where the person possessing those energies remains charged up and excited, kukupa‘u:
Learn to love projects, for
Good Projects will lead to Great Pilot Programs
Relinquish control (you don’t need it)
Use Who You Are to do What You Do
— All headings in: Choose your next Project Kukupa‘u
Now be careful: One way managers will put a damper on fresh energies is by recycling poorly instead of reinventing wisely — don’t stop at putting new clothes on an old project or an assignment that has gotten tired and worn for good reason: Your skills come into play with investigating well (why was the work abandoned?) and being more creative about alternative action, so new is really new for people, and not dressed-up old.
Energy is a Contagion: Get Infected willingly!
Something very special happens when managers seek to be workplace enablers: They soak in the goodness of infectious energies and begin to feel their own energy levels rise again. There’s a multiplier effect, where what you thought of as one-on-one work became a contagion.
Your best work as a manager is the development of the people who work for you. You continually assess what they may be ready for. You count your successes, by counting the successes they attained under your watch and guidance.
Get Value-Verbing to help you:
As you listen to your people in those new conversations you’re going to have, listen for these entry points. Are any of these values being voiced as a connection you can make to channeling their energy into concrete workplace opportunity?
‘IKE LOA: They want to learn something — what is it, and how can that learning be used in the work they must do?
MĀLAMA: They feel a need to take care of something — how can their stewardship become the ownership of workplace responsibility? (KULEANA.)
ALOHA: They’re tired of being professional (it happens, a lot) and they want to feel a more personal connection to their day-to-day work — how can you help them make that connection? (Think of a “how-to in Grace and Kindness”)
LŌKAHI: They crave a new partnership or association of some kind — can you make an introduction for them (sometimes that’s all it takes) or put them on a new and different team? (Their energy interjection might be just what that team needs…)
You get the idea. If you need more listening prompts, use one of the following 2 Value Listings as reference pages: Skim it after your discovery conversation (ask for time to think about the conversation, and say you’ll get back to them) and see if you can identify the personal value which was voiced.
- The 19 values of Aloha
- Going Forward into 2013, with Aloha Update for 2015: Goals Change. Values are Forever.
A review of this posting might help as well, as you contemplate the possibilities of your follow-up: Managerial Batching: 1, 2, 5 and 7
Start smart: Have those one-on-one conversations as your own Best Work this January. Everything starts there: All Conversations Are Not Created Equal.
You, the Alaka‘i Manager, are the one people count on so the work makes sense, and you do it with Aloha: Speak up, I’m listening.