I believe that in every interaction between people, there is a transaction of energy. In healthy relationships and normal transactions, there is give and take on both sides. Participants oscillate back and forth between being energy givers and energy takers. We give and we receive ideas, counsel and encouragement. We lean on others, and they lean on us.

Some people are inherently energy givers. They light up a room, they ask good questions, and they are good listeners. They are thoughtful, thankful, sincere and wise. They empower and serve, excite and inspire. Time spent with one of these people leaves one feeling energized and positive.

On the flip side are the chronic energy takers. We all know them, and chances are, you work with one. They shoot down ideas, dominate conversations and have a ready complaint at all times. They are often unhappy and angry, and they consider themselves victims of the passive injustice around them. Time spent with these people is draining; too much time spent with them can be toxic.

I use the word toxic because chronic energy takers can suck the energy out of even the brightest energy giver. Energy takers are black holes; there is no end to the amount of energy they can consume. One energy taker left unchecked can suck the energy out of a department and eventually erode the morale of an entire organization.

Perhaps you are nodding your head, relating all too well with having a chronic energy taker in your personal or professional life. Maybe you have experienced first-hand the drain; you dread the phone calls and maybe even take a different route to avoid that certain individual. We can all identify an energy taker, but what I have come to realize is that few chronic energy takers can identify themselves. As such, perhaps we should all ask ourselves: “Is it possible that I could be someone else’s energy taker?” It’s not a comfortable question, I know, but it’s one I think we all need to ask objectively.

Who we choose to surround ourselves with will impact who we become. Seek out energy givers, and aim to give them at least as much energy as you take from them. The result is a brighter world for all of us.

re-S.H.A.P.E. your thinking.™

Clifford A. Bailey

This entry was posted on Sunday, December 5th, 2010 at 7:35 pm and is filed under Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, S.H.A.P.E.. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.