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  • Topics covering working life, wellness, parenting, management, etc.

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Local Service Partners

Local Service Partners are independent EAPs with which WPO has established strategic relationships for the delivery of global EAP services in alignment with the WPO models, processes and quality standards.

  • 12 November 2020
  • 3 years

Leaders Need to be Proactive When it Comes to Managing Their Energy Levels

Staff Writer

Unless you work for a company with unlimited time, talent, and money, most likely as a manager you have had practice allocating resources. You know that you can’t give 100 percent of your budget to the first project to come your way and still expect to meet other objectives as well. So instead, you make judgment calls based on the importance of the tasks and the resources at your disposal.

As managers allocate their resources for projects, there is one critical component that often gets overlooked—the manager’s own energy level. In the same way that departments do not have unlimited resources, managers do not have unlimited amounts of energy at their disposal. Even those managers who dig deep to find the additional internal resources to push through a difficult stage need to understand that they are not reaching into a never-ending well. At some point, if managers are not proactive in replenishing their energy in healthy ways, the well will run dry.

Why is managing energy so important for leaders?

Maintaining sufficient energy levels supports a manager’s ability to problem-solve, listen, think critically, and exercise patience. These are all key components of leadership. Energy fatigue, on the other hand, can lead to irritability, pessimism, apathy, absentmindedness, and difficulty concentrating. These traits are detrimental in a leader and can lead to high turnover and costly missteps.

If managers are going to lead well, they must learn how to monitor and self-regulate their energy levels for optimal performance.

What are the three types of energy?

The three types of energy that managers should monitor are physical energy, mental energy, and emotional energy.

Physical energy – energy that activates the body’s movements and actions. The amount of physical energy is dictated by one’s health, diet, and physical activity.

Mental energy – energy that activates the brain to perform cognitive functions. The brain, while only accounting for two percent of the body’s mass, demands 20 percent of the body’s total energy budget. Mental energy is required for decision-making, analyzing, focus, and problem-solving.

Emotional energy – energy that fuels human emotions. Emotions can be categorized as high energy or low energy. Not only do high-energy, negative emotions affect energy resources, but positive, high-energy emotions, like excitement and elation, do as well.

How can I better manage my energy levels?

The key to managing your energy is identifying your energy gains and drains. Energy gains are those activities that you do for yourself that recharge your batteries. The interesting thing is not everyone shares the same energy gains and drains. For example, socializing may boost your energy level, but completely diminish someone else’s.

Examples of potential energy-gaining activities include

  • spending time with a friend
  • working on a hobby
  • being in nature
  • exercising
  • meditating

Energy drains are the opposite of energy gains. It’s those activities that require a high amount of mental or emotional energy.

Some examples of potential energy-draining activities include

  • dealing with conflict
  • a difficult commute
  • working with a specific person
  • completing projects at the last minute
  • responding to other people’s emotions

Once you identify those actions that give you an energy boost, it is important that you prioritize some of them as part of your weekly routine. Often, when managers get busy or overwhelmed, they start cancelling things they consider low priority. However, activities that restore energy levels should not be considered low priority. For a leader, they are essential.

For the energy-draining activities identified, check to see what resources might be available to assist. For example, if completing a project last-minute drains you, consider working with a job coach on time management. Are there trainings available to help you deal with conflict more effectively? Can any of your energy-draining activities be delegated to someone else?

Sometimes, energy-draining activities are unavoidable. When you know you have an appointment or project coming up that will most likely drain your battery, attempt to schedule it for a time when you typically experience optimal energy. Of course, most crisis are not scheduled in advance. When these unexpected energy drains occur, it is important to follow-up with energy-restoring activities.

As part of its AIR 2.0 Leading in a VUCA World training for managers, Workplace Options provides participants with an Energy Audit Assessment to teach them how to identify their energy levels, as well as see where they are being shortchanged. The goal of the audit is for managers to learn how to self-regulate their energy levels for optimal effectiveness, also referred to as “the zone of helpfulness.”

In today’s COVID-19 environment, managers play a key role in helping employees navigate change and uncertainty while also advancing business priorities. Therefore, it’s critical that they manage their energy levels well in order to meet the changing demands of each day.

Workplace Options helps employees balance their work, family, and personal needs to become healthier, happier, and more productive, both personally and professionally. The company’s world-class employee support, effectiveness, and wellbeing services provide information, resources, referrals, and consultation on a variety of issues ranging from dependent care and stress management to clinical services and wellness programs. To learn more visit


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