Eliminating Bad Energy

While tapping into behavior channels can multiply efforts to generate greater impact in your organization, it is the elimination of the “energy suckers” that may, in fact, be the most important effort you can make to maximize energy, companywide. Energy suckers can be anything that slows work and people down, erects obstacles, or generates toxic energy and feelings. They can be individuals, or even group dynamics. They can be leaders or managers who don’t appreciate the fragility of human nature and the emotions of their employees. Energy suckers also can come in the form of bureaucracy, politics, and passive-aggression.

The telltale signs that you have brushed shoulders with bad energy are the listlessness, discouragement, pessimism, and sour emotions it causes. I’ll highlight next what I see as the top three most insidious energy suckers in companies, those that destroy more positive personal energy than a marathon in 100-degree heat.

Energy Sucker 1: Bureaucracy

The most common, and perhaps most widely recognized, energy sucker is bureaucracy. It is like a kudzu vine in an organization: Once it starts growing, it rapidly multiplies, until it covers, and smothers, every corner of the organizational chart. Bureaucracy includes rules that have been written to prevent some unwanted behavior (e.g., hoarding red staplers, engaging in copy room sex, or leaving moldy food in refrigerators). It takes just one bad employee doing something really stupid or egregiously ...

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