“Bring it.” I love saying that. It gets the blood flowing.
Bringing it requires you to have the right mindset or attitude. I pride myself on being happy, engaged and respectful. I consider myself to be emotionally aware. I want everyone I interact with to feel respected and appreciated. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not a push over and I love to debate (just ask my wife). I take my responsibilities very seriously. But I try to do it in a positive and productive way.
Admittedly, some days I don’t get it right. I get frustrated or angry, both at home and at work. It is the difference between being emotionally aware and emotionally in control. I need to work on the latter. I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve, but I want to practice better controlling my emotions when the situation calls for it.
Working on getting better is hard, but it’s part of striving to be your best possible self – and that is something we never outgrow. It takes an openness and honesty about who you want to be, and a positive energy.
And that goes well beyond self-improvement – research has shown that having and displaying positive energy can help you lead a happier and more fulfilling life. In fact, I’ve come across research that states that emotions and energy are contagious. That is right– you can catch it…like a cold.
What are people catching from you?
Recently, I read the HBR article, The More You Energize Your Coworkers, the Better Everyone Performs. The research focused on a concept called “relational energy.” Author Wayne Baker defines relational energy as something we “catch” (positive or negative) through the interactions we have with others.
Does that mean on the days I have a bad attitude, I can infect others? Yes. This makes the idea of emotional awareness and control bigger than just self-improvement. It makes it necessary to effectively lead. That really struck me. It elevated the importance and priority of emotional control over emotional awareness. It also made me step back and think about how important energy is to culture.
The article gives us some ideas about how to build positive relational energy. Here’s how my team is trying to implement them:
Build high-quality connections: We are attempting this through a volunteer board, putting like-minded people to work on challenging projects.
Create energizing events: We’re trying to energize our quarterly knowledge meetings, but I think we could improve by making them more interactive. There is a need to disseminate information, but the exchange should be two-sided and engaging. (Ideas are welcome.)
Use the tools that promote a “giver” culture: We do this a lot at our company. We have an entire program related to giving back. We create an environment where you can give to those around you and the communities you care about. Employee participation outside of their day job is not only supported, but encouraged.
Try mapping relational energy: I can see your eyes rolling, but it really does make sense. I’ll go back to something I have stated before: by hours in the week, we typically spend more time with our coworkers than our spouses and families, so the energy we put out (and others “catch”) matters. I haven’t pushed this in my organization, but I do plan to create one, just to see what I learn. I may be a relational energy nerd, but I think it will help me understand why I feel the way I do in certain situations – and through that awareness, I can learn to control it.
All and all, I am proud of the attitude and energy of my team. I am happy with what I “bring” on most days. I think I have a group of highly talented and engaged professionals who bring it each day. But when we’re busy pursing goals in the daily grind, I think what we all need to strive to “bring” is positive energy at home, at work and in the community.