There are two kinds of energy in terms of motivation—positive and negative. Now for those that know a little physics, you know that is not the way energy is actually defined and described in physical sciences. But physics does recognize positive and negative charges. However, every worker knows exactly what I am talking about when I describe energy as positive and negative.
Positive energy motivates. Positive energy contributes to higher morale. Positive energy energizes.
Negative energy de-motivates. Negative energy lowers morale. Negative energy drains everyone around.
Every environment will have a “net-charge” to it at any given time. It can be positive—from very positive to mildly positive. It can be negative—from very negative to mildly negative. Or it can be fairly neutral. However, neutral is negative when it comes to work environments. Highly negative should be regarded as highly toxic. Poisonous really!
In reality, some negative energy is a bi-product of work. It’s just as with our bodies. We get our energy from the oxidation of molecules. That energy is measured in calories. Oxidation produces oxidants—negatively charged free radicals. These free radicals are believed to be genetic “head-bangers” that can cause damage to human genes, which can then malfunction and do all sorts of bad things to our bodies, even producing cancers. Simple exercise, or anything burning extra calories, will therefore increase these oxidants or free radicals in our bloodstreams. They’re inevitable.
Thus, today we see the proliferation of all kinds of supplements known as “antioxidants”. These don’t stop oxidation. If they did that they would drain you of all energy and you would simply die. Antioxidants actually bond with free radicals, neutralizing them and allowing them to be disposed of properly without doing damage to genes, cells, and tissues.
It is the same in business. Any time there is work being done, there is negative energy being produced. It is simply a social byproduct of work and even life. Thus, there must be a constant flow of healthy social and psychological antioxidants to neutralize those negative charges that build up in all of us. If a constant countering of “negativity” does not occur, the environment will become “net-negative” and ultimately toxic. Morale will continue to spiral downward, motivation will minimize, and turnover will maximize. Failure is inevitable. Sadly, in far too many workplaces, leadership itself actually is producing the negativity. And a business will always reflect its leaders.
Leaders have to become wise to the social and psychological laws of human energy, just as scientists must be aware of the physical laws of energy. Positive energy can power a world. Energy wrongly directed or “negative” energy can also destroy one!
Learn to make your workplace net positive!