Boosting Energy and Effectiveness Within Your Team

An excerpt from Lauren Parsons’ book ‘Thriving Leaders Thriving Teams’.

“Be a positive energy trampoline – absorb what you need and rebound more back.” 

– Dave Carolan

Angela is an athlete with natural talent. She’s incredibly fit, strong and agile. Capable of great things. She joins an immersive programme working with other athletes. She soon discovers their training sessions are very laissez-faire, without a lot of focus, variety or progression. There’s little positive encouragement from the coaches. Instead, she experiences a lot of negativity and feels isolated.

The food is highly processed, leading to energy slumps. Days are unstructured with no boundaries around technology use, which means most people are on and off their devices at all hours. Sleep isn’t seen as a priority and because others are up and about, it can be disturbing late into the night. 

After a few weeks, Angela’s performance declines. Not only does her strength and fitness suffer, her mental wellbeing also takes a dive. Eventually she changes to a new immersive programme. 

In this different team environment, there’s lots of positive encouragement from their coach and team captain. They have focused and intense training on a regular basis, which pushes them mentally and physically. 

They have fantastic fresh, whole food meals and plenty of water provided. Getting great rest is encouraged; in fact, there’s a strict rule on lights out at the same time each night. There are also clear boundaries on switching off from devices and being fully present. The athletes are encouraged to focus on looking after themselves and their teammates. 

In this new setting, Angela feels she’s continually learning, growing and extending herself. She regularly achieves new personal bests she wouldn’t have dreamed possible. 

The environment we’re in shapes how we perform and how we feel. Your staff may not be professional athletes, but their performance certainly depends on their physical and mental state.

Culture by Design, Not Culture by Default

Sadly, far too many organisations don’t optimise their workplace culture for energy and effectiveness. No-one starts out with a goal to create an unhealthy, stressful work environment. 

They usually evolve over time due to inattention. Poor habits creep in and become the norm. New hires fall into the routine because ‘everybody else is doing it’, which perpetuates negative behaviours.

Human beings aren’t designed to work non-stop like machines. 

  • That staff member who never leaves her desk is actually doing you a disservice. She’d be quicker and have higher accuracy after a short break.
  • The colleague who skips lunch but devours cookies all afternoon isn’t going to have great energy or mental clarity.
  • That team member who answers emails at all hours isn’t giving himself (or others) the chance to fully recharge in his downtime.

You can’t expect staff who spend their days slogging away in their cubicles, devoid of natural light, fuelled on junk food, to perform at their best. Added up, these habits will hurt your business.

Yes, to a certain extent, they’re personal choices. However, as a leader, you shape the environment and set the tone. You can create new cultural norms and help your team break out of ‘caged-hen mentality’ by creating the optimum environment for ‘free-range humans’.
Many leaders are oblivious to the impact they have and the importance of the personal example they set. It’s what you demonstrate, reinforce and encourage others to do and also what you tolerate that creates the workplace culture and norms.

Questions to consider

  • Could you have shorter stand up meetings?

  • Can you ensure staff take their breaks away from their desks?

  • What food options will you cater at staff events?

  • How can you set the example in your daily habits to positively influence your team?

If you’d like to lift your leadership skills and discover how to create a thriving workplace culture, check out the Leading So People Thrive course and make a real difference as a leader.


Lauren Parsons is a multi-award-winning Wellbeing Specialist who helps leaders boost both staff wellbeing and productivity. With over 20 years’ experience in the health and wellbeing profession, she is a sought-after speaker, coach and consultant.

NZ Keynote Speaker of the Year & Educator of the Year 2023/24, TEDx speaker, author of real food less fuss, founder of the Snack on Exercise movement and host of the Thrive TV Show and certified Emotional Culture Deck practitioner.

Based in the Manawatu, she travels regularly and specialises in helping organisations create a high-energy, peak-performance team culture, where people thrive. Get your complimentary copy of Lauren’s ebook “5 Keys to a Positive, Energised, High-Performance Culture” here.

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