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Karin’s Leadership Articles

You want to be an energetic leader, but it’s hard. You’re being pulled in so many directions. You’re tired. Your team is tired. And yet you also know It’s harder for your team to run out of steam when the leader they admire keeps showing up strong. Energetic leadership is contagious and inspires results.

I’ve been observing the most energetic leaders I can find, and looking for themes. I’ve also been paying close attention to those who show signs of burn-out (the biggest sign is they tell me so).

4 Ways to Connect to Your Natural Energy at Work

1. Calling

Feeling deeply inspired by a passionate calling ignites fires even the worst days can’t extinguish. When you’re connected to a deeper calling, setbacks stoke the flame. Look for the deeper meaning in what you do. Almost all work has meaning when done well. Engage your team in that cause.

meaning in work with Marshall Goldsmith

2. Commitment

Is it a job, or something more? Feeling a deep commitment to outcomes drives energy. Commit to personal goals you must achieve. Committed marathoners train in the rain. Discover what you’re willing to wake up early and slush through puddles to achieve.

3. Connection

Energy is contagious. When work sucks, deep relationships save the day. Invest deeply and build lasting relationships. Build professional intimacy. Invest in light connections with every person you encounter. Smile more, and help strangers. The energy will multiply.

4. Comeback

The most exciting game to watch is the comeback. The underdog leaves it all on the field and pulls it out. That can be you. Put your rally cap on, garner your resources, and give it another go. Celebrate the small wins, and go for another. Nothing is more energizing than turnaround success.

5. What would you add as #5?

Real leadershipThis post is the 3rd of 4 on Energy, as part of the REAL Leadership Model. Stay tuned by entering your email address to subscribe. Already part of our community, invite 2 friends. Let’s grow the conversation and our leadership together.

2022 Update

If you’ve found this article on being an energetic leader, you’ve stumbled on one of my rookie blog articles I wrote while still working as a Verizon executive. And of course, the world has changed significantly. It’s more challenging than ever to show up as an energetic leader.

Here are two articles that might be particularly helpful now.

How to Lead When Your Team is Exhausted

How to Lead When Your Team is Exhausted

And, the Most Challenging Person for a Human-Centered Leader

The Most Challenging Person for a Human-Centered Leader

We’ve written several books including our latest Courageous Cultures: How to Build Teams of Micro-Innovators, Problem Solvers, and Customer Advocates, which offers important research and insights for tapping into your own energy and the energy of your team.

You can download the first few chapters and the foreword on psychological safety by Dr. Amy Edmondson for free here.

And, we work with leaders all over the world with our keynotes and training programs. 

Want more human-centered leaders in the workplace? Share this today!

Want more human-centered leaders in the workplace? Share this today?


  1. Steve Borek

    Getting enough Sleep
    Eating the right Foods
    Consistent Exercise Routine

    These are the biggest contributors to having the energy needed to lead and do a great job.

    The best leaders set an example, Model the Way, for their team by excelling in all three.

    • letsgrowleaders

      Steve, Thanks. From what you’ve shared you really model that. We all need to know how to comeback… to renew. That’s tomorrow’s post 😉 I’ve been running a bit on empty myself.

    • Matt McWilliams

      Steve took mine 🙂

      All three.

      Without an energy reserve in ourselves, we cannot possibly transfer it to others.

      • letsgrowleaders

        Matt, fully agree. Tomorrow I share how I tanked out.

  2. Ben Evans

    5. Creativity

    Energy can only come about when there are new and exciting reasons to push forward

  3. letsgrowleaders

    Ben, Great to see you here. I couldnt agree more! You sure have that going on.

  4. Jon Mertz

    Great list and points, Karin. I would add Compassion. Making the Connection with people creates Compassion, which in turn produces an energy to do more, listen more, help more, and lead more fully. Thanks! Jon

  5. Shona Fletcher

    Great list. This mirrors the advice my then-boss gave me when starting my first “proper job” – if you cant be enthusiastic about what you do how do you expect your clients, customers or team to be enthusiastic about it? This has always stayed with me. Enthusiasm is contagious.

    • letsgrowleaders

      Shona, FANTASTIC advice. Thanks so much for sharing with the LGL community. I look forward to hearing more of your insights.

  6. Jennifer V.

    I agree wholeheartedly with the comments above. Smart community!

    I would add being challenged. Not so much that it keeps you up at night but enough that there’s a little sweat in the palms of your hands and you’re pushing your edge and learning, learning, learning.

    • letsgrowleaders

      Jennifer, Ahh, yes… we do have a smart community, that’s the most fun part. TERRIFIC add. Yes, challenges are very energizing. I think it’s always best when you feel like you’ve jumped out of an airplane.

  7. Lolly Daskal


    Can be summed up in ONE WORD

    When you lead with heart you are love, loving and lovable!


    • letsgrowleaders

      Lolly, our worlds all need that now. Beautiful. Thanks for adding that to the LGL community.

  8. Sue Bock

    Hi Lori

    I absolutely I agree with you and everyone above. I believe #5 is “Asking for Help.” When you know your limitations and ask for help you nurture creativity, increase energy, and grow leaders. What a combination!

    Sue Bock

  9. Susan Mazza

    Great topic and list. I’m with Steve on eating, sleeping and exercising for wellness.

    My number 5 would be clarity. Knowing what you want, where you are going and why is like high octane fuel.

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Karin Hurt

Karin Hurt helps human-centered leaders find clarity in uncertainty, drive innovation, and achieve breakthrough results.  She’s the founder and CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders, an international leadership development and training firm known for practical tools and leadership development programs that stick. She’s the award-winning author of four books including Courageous Cultures: How to Build Teams of Micro-Innovators, Problem Solvers, and Customer Advocates and Powerful Phrases for Dealing with Workplace Conflict, and hosts the popular Asking For a Friend Vlog on LinkedIn. A former Verizon Wireless executive, Karin was named to Inc. Magazine’s list of great leadership speakers. Karin and her husband and business partner, David Dye, are committed to their philanthropic initiative, Winning Wells – building clean water wells for the people of Cambodia.

Be More Daring


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7 Practical Ways to be a Bit More Daring

Be More Daring


Get the FREE Courageous Cultures E-Book to learn how

7 Practical Ways to be a Bit More Daring

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