How Visionary Leaders Can Energize Others



“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” — Maya Angelou

Some people are energy vampires.  They suck the life force out.

Others leave us more energized.

These leaders are the “energizers.”  They create and sustain energy in others.

In the book, Out Think: How Innovative Leaders Drive Exceptional Outcomes, G. Shawn Hunter shares how top energizers catalyze others by the way they create and communicate a compelling vision of the future, demonstrate that others are making meaningful contributions, identify and convey a clear sense of purpose, and fully engage in each interaction.

Oh, by the way, guess who people seek out more to hang out with, work with, or work for?

1. Create and Communicate a Compelling Vision for the Future

Leaders who practice the art of the possible, with their head in the clouds, but their feet on the ground, motivate and inspire others with skill.

Via Out Think: How Innovative Leaders Drive Exceptional Outcomes:

“The key word here is compelling.  Those energizing individuals capable of instilling a powerful and compelling vision of the future are able to convey a future they envision that is both believable and feasible as a goal.  Visions interpreted as overly ambitious or preposterous in scope suck energy and hope from those listening.  A true energizer can convey a believable vision of a future state that inspire hope and optimisim.”

2. Convey that Others are Making Meaningful Contribution

Lift others up by acknowledging their gifts and deeds well done.  Be authentic and get specific, or it doesn’t count.

Via Out Think: How Innovative Leaders Drive Exceptional Outcomes:
”Praise and recognition of individual contribution is a hallmark of strong energizers, but most importantly this requires being specific in praise.  Instead of saying “Good presentation!” a gifted energizer might say the following: ‘You did an excellent job in reframing slides 12 and 14 in your presentation to speak to the specific needs of the customer.  You listened well and they appreciated it.’”

3. Identify and Convey a Clear Sense of Progress

Know what progress looks like and help people feel it.

Via Out Think: How Innovative Leaders Drive Exceptional Outcomes:

“In her work, Teresa Amabile (author of The Progress Principle), affirms Rob Cross’s prescription for energizers to convey a clear sense of progress.  She and her husband, fellow researcher Steven Kramer, analyzed 12,000 diary entries from 238 employees in 7 companies to come to the qualified conclusion that the most powerful work motivator is indeed a sense of progress in meaningful work.”

4.  Fully Engage in Each Interaction

Are you here, now?

Via Out Think: How Innovative Leaders Drive Exceptional Outcomes:

“Anyone who has ever spent a moment with Oprah Winfrey, Bill Clinton, or leadership giant Warren Bennis all share similar stories of feeling these leaders where wholly present, utterly undistracted, and completely immersed in the conversation.  In each interaction, energizers, however powerful or important the world believes them to be, will make every person feel as if he or she is the most interesting, important, and valuable person in the room.  Energizers present a tone and body language that reflects that they are fully present and attuned to the listener.  Put another way, they show great emotional fluency.”

Are you stopping by to snack on people, or are you igniting their passions, lifting them up, and bringing out their best?

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Image by Peter.


  1. Great summary and provides me with ideas for improving the way I show up for others as a leader. Beautiful refresh of your site too! Even the mobile version is stunning. Thank you!

    • Hey Marilyn — thank you!

      You are one of the most visionary people I know, and I always like the way you frame things out for people, and help them see the art of the possible, while connecting it back to what’s actually practical and tactical.

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