Thursday, August 12, 2010

Energize Me!

I just read a fantastic article by David Lee of HumanNature@Work. His research meshes well with mine on the idea of toxic people at work. He calls them “de-energizers,” though. His article, Are You an “Upper” or a “Downer” To Others? describes the importance of being an Energizer at work.

As one of many who has worked with her share of “Downers,” or “De-energizers” at work, and also a former De-energizer, with tendencies to this day, I found this article to be spot on.

Lee discusses an experiment where Dr. Rob Cross, of University of Virginia, did a study of various workplaces and teams. He basically studied how the groups interacted with each other and their resulting productivity.

He discovered that the smartest people in the group weren’t always the most sought after to solve problems, nor were they more productive. Rather, it was the more approachable who were. It was the “Energizers’” advice most heeded in times of distress.

I can attest to this as well. It doesn’t matter how smart someone is, if I feel emotionally drained after any interaction, I am going to limit face time. Even when it might be beneficial for me to consult them.

David Lee further says, and I would concur that,
"Given the challenging times we face, we all need to do our part to uplift each other. This is not a time to be petty, whiny, or nitpicky. It is not a time to expect others to bear the burden of our bad moods or put up with our disrespectful behavior. If you are an individual contributor and not a manager, this is not the time to say “It’s up to management to improve morale.”

Each employee can have an effect on morale—whether positive or negative—based on whether he or she engages in Energizing or De-Energizing behaviors. At this point in history, each employee MUST do their part.”

Dr. Cross found out that the most productive people were the Energizers. It doesn’t matter how much you know if you can’t inspire action.

photo credit: By Agitproper Todd L. Gilbert



  1. I completely agree! Energizing people are contagious and spread energy to a team far better than someone who only has knowledge or work ethic. Without energy, smarts and hard work don't make it very far. And, at the other extreme, de-energizers really bring everyone down and make work a hard place to be. Great post!! "Like!"

  2. thanks, kristen! yes, this post resonates with me as well. i have felt the negative effects de-energizing people for too long. check out david lee's site, http://www.humannatureatwork for more great stuff on this!

  3. Guess what... I am going to use this in my note to Parker SSD on Monday!! I worked there for 3 summers now, they always ask me back, and I can't resist even though I don't want to work in the summer. I wanted to find the right words to compliment them! I found the perfect words, now, and will be able to show my appreciation for them! They are just awesome, and they need to know that.
    Thanks Brooke!!