Guest Post by Dan Rockwell

Lousy managers are anchors. Successful managers are wind.

The first step in filling people’s sails is setting an intention to energize people.

After time with you, you want people …

  1. Standing tall.
  2. Energized about what’s next.
  3. Turning toward the future rather than sinking into the past.
  4. Convinced they have what it takes if they dig in. Self-belief has more potential than self-doubt.
  5. Bolstered by your support.

Unintended drain:

Frivolous cheerleaders drain energy. Everything ISN’T good! Some things DO need improvement! Some people ARE underperforming! There ARE too many things to do!

Frivolous cheerleader-leaders give the impression that they just don’t get it.

Don’t overwhelm people with your excitement. Make space for the enthusiasm of others.

12 questions guaranteed to energize people:

  1. Who are the bright spots on your team? How are you pouring gas on their fire?
  2. If you think about your activities last week, what are you proud you did?
  3. What are you glad you’re doing these days?
  4. What would you like to do more of?
  5. What are you doing that isn’t working? How might you stop doing what isn’t working?
  6. What did they see in you when they hired you? You are bringing so much more than that.
  7. Which of your recent accomplishments are most satisfying? What contributed to those accomplishments?
  8. If you gave yourself permission to brag, what would you brag about?
  9. What are you currently doing that is contributing to your success?
  10. What do you think?
  11. What good things are you doing that other people aren’t noticing?
  12. List three people you admire. What do you admire about them? How are you like them?

Tip: Go human

Turn conversations toward humanity.

When people give answers about projects or results, ask about humanity. What did you do? How did you feel when …?

How might managers energize people?

Bonus material:

4 Questions the Best Managers Answer to Energize Employees

4 Practices Guaranteed to Energize Tired Teams

How to Have a Fun Conversation Again (NYT)

Dan Rockwell


Dan Rockwell’s daily leadership blog LeadershipFreak  designed to help leaders reach higher in 300 words or less. He is currently surpassing a 2.5 million views a year.  Dan also presents, trains, coaches and mentors current and emerging leaders/managers.  And in addition enables individuals and organizations to leverage social media to achieve strategic objectives.


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