Energy Boost

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How to rejuvenate the staff and culture at your community bank

By Dan Rockwell

Successful leaders energize. Happiness is energy. Success always includes making someone feel happy.

How do teams find energy? The four elements that drive happiness in any workplace are control, progress, connectedness and purpose.

1. Control: Belief that choices are available and personal decisions impact direction and destination. Feeling powerful is acting upon rather than being acted upon. If you want to lead a happy organization make people feel powerful. Successful leaders make people feel powerful by giving control, not taking it.

Rather than imposing demands, commit to shared values and vision, agree on best practices, then release. Behaviors apart from shared values are burdens.

2. Progress: Next steps are available, clear and actionable. If you want to lead an unhappy organization focus on “can’t do” and “won’t work.” Successful leaders identify next steps toward clearly defined success.

You can’t be happy and feel lost at the same time. Create progress by establishing achievable milestones. If you want to achieve a big goal, complete lots of little goals. A small win today is better than a big win next week. (As long as there’s a series of small wins along the path.)

Successful leaders ask: How did we win yesterday? How are we winning today? How will we win tomorrow? Warning: Exhaustion and unhappiness are bedfellows.

3. Connectedness: Relationships that feel trustworthy, supportive, energizing and challenging foster connectedness in the workplace. Get on your co-worker’s team before asking him or her to commit to yours. Make people feel they aren’t alone by understanding their goals and values, doing more than work, having fun, listening without judging, celebrating strengths and acknowledging progress.

4. Purpose: Engagement with something that matters. Successful leaders create frameworks where people feel in control, take next steps, build connections and do what matters. Do stuff that matters. How can leaders move teams and organizations toward happiness? How would you help people feel in control, progress, connect or find purpose?


Dan Rockwell is a leadership speaker and consultant and author of the online blog Leadership Freak at http://leadershipfreak.wordpress.com. Follow him on Twitter @Leadershipfreak.