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  • What is emotional energy?
  • Can emotions affect peak performance?

Fifteen years ago, I served as the chair of a search committee. A few minutes before introducing a candidate to speak at an open forum, I asked her how she was feeling. She indicated that her emotional energy was low. As an expressive driver-workaholic, that response caught me by surprise. I thought to myself, what in the world is she talking about? This was a very talented candidate. Was she going to blow the interview because her energy was low? Up to that point in my career, I knew about physical energy but hadn’t given much thought to emotional energy. Understanding the role energy plays in your life is important. That is what we are going to explore in this week’s blog. Spoiler alert, she aced the interview and was hired. That brief pre-interview conversation got me to reflect and think about energy in a different way.

Throughout my career, only one supervisor asked us about our energy levels. Our staff meeting was at 10:00 every Monday morning. Reflecting on his inquiry, I realized why the question was asked. He wanted to gauge our energy levels, individually and collectively. He was probably thinking that the higher the collective energy, the more engaged and productive we are in the meeting. Looking back, Monday morning was not the best time for a meeting. As I recall, our energy levels were pretty low. If we had been more aware, we could have changed the meeting to another time and/or day.

My energy level for solitary activities such as writing, or number crunching is better in the morning whereas my social energy level is much higher in the afternoon. Knowing how energy flows may help me reach peak performance.

Checking in with others about their energy levels is important as well. I have learned that introverts need time alone to charge their batteries whereas extroverts get a boost from being around people. Attempting to discuss a complicated or deep subject with a person when their energy is down will be more difficult. In time you’ll be able to read the energy levels of the persons with whom you work closely. But if you are not sure, state the topic and ask if it is a good time. Caveat: Don’t let others’ negative energy affect your positive energy. As difficult as it is, treat others the way you want to be treated even if they do not reciprocate. The strength of your positive energy is measured by your ability to not allow another person or event to control your energy.

How can you use energy to improve your work environment? Leave a comment below!