4 Ways to Unleash Leadership Energy

| | Featured Books & Authors

Following is a guest article from Achim Nowak.  Achim has a distinctive ability to connect deeply and authentically with others in a way that ignites their passion and energy. It is my pleasure to share some of his wisdom with you here.

InfectiousbySchimNowakBy the time I get hired to coach a senior executive, he’s been subjected to a battery of psychometric assessments.

She can usually rattle off her MBTI or DISC assessment profile at the drop of a dime. An entire sense of self has been packaged into a tidy psychological box.

Is this helpful?

Well – when it works, an assessment tends to generate cognitive insights. In partnership with an awesome coach, it may invoke incremental behavior changes.

It may also entirely miss the boat.

I am partial to the research of Sandy Pentland and Daniel Olguin at MIT’s Human Dynamics Lab. They outfitted five executives with devices that recorded data on their social signals – not what they said, but their tone of voice, gesticulation, proximity to others, personal energy. All of that is not spoken.

Pentland and Olguin call these signals honest signals. Based on this tracking, Pentland and Olguin forecast who would succeed in a competitive business situation.

Accurately, of course.

When asked which signals are most clearly identified with successful people, Pentland’s answer is emphatic: “The more successful people are more energetic.” (Harvard Business Review, January 2010).

INDEED. Leaders succeed for many different reasons, but a core success factor, plain and simple, is your personal energy – a palpable, visceral energy.  It is an energy that touches hearts and souls. Without the ability to tap this personal energy, your leadership success is invariably limited.

Most psychometric tools perpetuate the Jungian notion of an introversion/extroversion duality. Introverts, according to Jung, tend to derive energy from thoughts and ideas while extroverts tend to derive it from other people.

It’s a convenient cognitive frame, but it does not do a heck of a lot to actually help us better connect with our personal energy.

No, cognitive insights won’t get us there.  Contemplate the presence of a “big energy” instead.

Cultures throughout history have found language to describe this energy. The most common phrase attributed to it is “life force.” The Hindus call it prana, the Japanese ki, the Chinese qi or chi. Jung himself talks compellingly about his work with a client who experiences the big Hindu kundalini energy (video here). There are almost 100 names associated with this energy in as many different cultures. More importantly, there are very specific techniques for accessing this “big” energy. And these techniques can be readily learned by anyone – introverts and extroverts!

Here are four specific energy pathways that take us from a cognitive mindset to a more kinesthetic experience of our personal energy:

1.    The Chakras

Our spinal cord acts as an energy highway that allows energy to move from the base to the top of the head and out. Seven major chakras serve as energy centers that line our spine. The moment we learn to open our chakras and charge them, we also energize our personal connections with absolutely anyone

2.    The Chi-Catalysts

Chi is the Chinese term for “life force.” It travels through energy channels called meridians that crisscross our entire body. When these channels are open, our energy flows freely within us – and to others! Practices such as qi gong, reiki, acupuncture, tai chi, Alexander Technique, reflexology, and yoga all unleash the flow of chi. They help us radiate personal energy. And we feel great, to boot!

3.    NLP

Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) is an unwieldy name for a rather intuitive approach to noticing the verbal and energetic cues of another person. By mirroring and matching the cues we receive, we get on the same wavelength with the other person and accelerate the connection. We end up “being in sync” with the energy of others.

4.    Symbolic Imagery

If you are stirred by symbols and mythic imagery, power animals may be a potent path for accessing hidden energies. All Native American cultures incorporate the energy of animals into their world view. When we learn to connect with power animals, we connect with primal human energies that hover right below our conscious minds.

The moment you have a more conscious experience of your energy, you connect more deeply with the energy of others. Your leadership impact is instantly magnified. So please venture beyond the world of simple cognitive labels.

Learn how to be “out of your mind” and study alternative energy practices. Your personal and professional rewards will astound you!

Achim Nowak is the author of Infectious: How to Connect Deeply and Unleash the Energetic Leader Within (Allworth/2013) and Power Speaking.  An international authority on leadership presence, Achim has been featured in Forbes, Fast Company, Entrepreneur, as well as on NPR, Fox News, and 60 Minutes. Influens, his training and coaching firm, is based in Miami.



Enter A Comment

Stefan Powell   |   21 February 2014   |   Reply

A wonderful share Susan here and thank you Achim. What’s described within fits perfectly with what both I and my clients experience each and every day – that the boxes we look to put each other in – do not in reality reflect our ability to adapt as we all do. Think of ourselves speaking lovingly with our friends and family and the distance we can demonstrate in the work environment. The sense of abandonment and high energy we may have after a glass of wine at a party and the near silence and low energy we may demonstrate in a meeting setting. We each show and have the ability to connect deeply as Achim shares, the key is to remove the ‘interference’ that on occasions prevents us from doing what we have been innately designed to do and raiding awareness of what we do and how when we are in ‘connecting flow’. Thank you for inspiring me again today. Stefan #yourleadershipcounsel

Susan Mazza   |   21 February 2014   |   Reply

What great examples Stefan of the choices we make, mindfully or not, of how we use our energy. Context and circumstances may naturally provoke certain states of being, for better or for worse, but ultimately we do get to choose and that choice truly matters.

Achim Nowak   |   21 February 2014   |   Reply

Thank you for your wonderfully thoughtful response, Stefan. “Interference,” in my mind, is our adherence to a social etiquette that inhibits true connection, our enslavement by meeting constructs that we dare not challenge, and our fear of showing up “whole” at work. Our ability to access brilliant personal energy is one way of starting to overcome the interferences.

Stan Faryna   |   21 February 2014   |   Reply

Nothing compares to living waters. They are unlimited in their beauty, goodness, and power.

“Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”

John 7:38 NIV

Susan Mazza   |   21 February 2014   |   Reply

Great metaphor Stan!

Achim Nowak   |   21 February 2014   |   Reply

“Living waters” is an exquisite turn of language. I thank you for sharing it! With gratitude …

Johann Gauthier   |   22 February 2014   |   Reply

Dear friends!
How so very nice and inspiring to see two great thought leaders and leadership practitioners coming together and co-creating like this!
I am a HUGE fan of Achim’s work. I strongly believe that energy when unleashed leads to resonating successes.
Last year I undertook a personal quest to find my own power source and plugs. Achim’s book has been instrumental in allowing me to identify that power and being comfortable with it. His book offers SO much great advice. I am eternally grateful for your gift to the world Achim. Your book should be a key reference for ALL leaders and organizations wishing to unleash energetic leaders.
I wrote many posts with your book in mind however this one stands out for me as one important gem in my personal journey to BE the true energetic leader within me.
Merci chers amis!

Achim Nowak   |   22 February 2014   |   Reply

Johann – I thank you heartily for your rousing response. I am so very glad that you love INFECTIOUS. You are the living embodiment of infectious energy. Can we clone you?

Johann Gauthier   |   27 February 2014   |  

So kind of you to say Achim! I am sincerely grateful for your inspiration and for offering such a brillant road-map for many leaders looking to unleash their energetic leader!

Susan Mazza   |   24 February 2014   |   Reply

Thank you Johann for making the connection!

Johann Gauthier   |   27 February 2014   |  

Thank you Susan for being such a great connector!

Anna Bernstein   |   28 April 2014   |   Reply

Thank you both, Susan and Achim! What a lovely article about an area most leaders ignore.
Another way to achieve increased energy is with proper breathing. Not what you are thinking – most people block their breath on the exhale, thereby literally limiting their voices. The first thing I teach every client is how to breath. Now I will add a few visualizations from this article. Thanks again! Anna

Susan Mazza   |   29 April 2014   |   Reply

Great addition to the conversation Anna. Breathing is so important. It is something I have to continue to work on personally, especially when I am stressed out. Although I admittedly focus on the inhale more than the exhale. Will be paying attention to the exhale more now. Thanks!

Click Here   |   24 May 2014   |   Reply

Really enjoyed this update, is there any way I can receive an email sent to me when there is a fresh post?


Susan Mazza   |   28 May 2014   |   Reply

Thanks! The simplest way is to provide your e-mail at the top of the blog where it says receive instant updates.

Como Ser Terapeuta   |   28 February 2017   |   Reply

Great article Susan!!! I will always visit this blog. Your article is really informative. Gratitude!

Susan Mazza   |   06 March 2017   |   Reply

Thank you Como!

filmbartar   |   14 March 2017   |   Reply

Many thanks for the great posting. I am glad I have taken the time to see this
keep up the excellent work 😉

  • Random Acts Of Leadership™ | 4 Ways to Un... 21 February 2014, 21 February 2014

    […] “Achim Nowak shares four surprising ways to unleash your leadership energy, challenging conventional wisdom about how to become a better leader.”  […]

  • 4 Ways to Unleash Leadership Energy from @Achim... 22 February 2014, 22 February 2014

    […] Following is a guest article from Achim Nowak. Achim has a distinctive ability to connect deeply and authentically with others in a way that ignites their passion and energy. It is my pleasure to …  […]

  • 4 Ways to Unleash Leadership Energy | MILE Lead... 25 February 2014, 25 February 2014

    […] Following is a guest article from Achim Nowak. Achim has a distinctive ability to connect deeply and authentically with others in a way that ignites their passion and energy. It is my pleasure to …  […]