I saw this image the other day: an almost empty battery on the left and a woman on the right. She looks almost empty too. And it brought home to me that we act as if we care more for our smartphones than for ourselves and each other.
Take your own relationship to your smart phone.
When has it last died on you because you have forgotten to recharge it in time? It rarely happens, because you are usually aware if the battery runs below 50%, especially if you plan to be out and about any time soon.
You consciously avoid letting it’s battery run down!
When power is low, you plug it in, because if it turns itself off, it cuts you off from:
your ability to connect to others
your capability to take in new information, be it orienting yourself with a map, or checking the latest on social media.
Well you, and all of your team members, are not dissimilar to that phone you treat with so much foresight.
When you run on 10%,
you cannot connect to others. You loose our ability to understand what they are saying to you.
you cannot take in information, let alone process and create something from it.
Like with your phone, when you let your own energy run down to 10%, it’s too late. It’s time to recharge when it drops below 50%.
Constant regeneration is key.
Our batteries run low if we don’t regularly make the time for regeneration in the areas which give us energy: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual energy.
And most of us tend to not make enough time for self-care activities which refill our energy tank when we are afraid of running short in our other life domains: working, parenting, connecting to family and friends, etc.
When we fall behind with tasks, we double up.
As we feel we are falling behind, we get stressed. And then we try to will ourselves into performing better than we can, given our circumstances. This makes us less productive and sours our relationships, which makes us less productive, until our battery is flat out.
It’s a vicious cycle.
This vicious cycle is happening all over the world now, with many working from home and lacking their habitual support systems, be it an open gym, a commute to work in silence, being out with colleagues for lunch, childcare, and so on.
Here’s how to lead the way out of it.
As a leader you need to initiate the conversation about energy and energy management as we are heading towards a mental and emotional crisis.
And you first need to model how you are balancing your energy levels so as to be resilient in the face of the uncertainty, ambiguity, volatility, and complexity which everyone and all organisations are consciously living through right now. The counterintuitive strategy would pay off: taking time out during the day.
Great leaders encourage self-care.