16 Stories to Energize Your Leadership

by Jennifer Miller on April 21, 2015

in Book Review, Leadership

Feeling burned out as a leader? It’s a common feeling: work life is hectic and leaders feel especially “squeezed.”  This constant pressure can suck every last bit of energy from you and the people you lead, with unfortunate results.

As Chris Edmonds, author of The Culture Engine, writes in the foreword of the recently released book Energize Your Leadership: Discover, Ignite, Break ThroughEnergize Your Leadership book cover, “Energy is a vital quality – at work and outside of work – that is present when people are engaged, enthused, aligned, and valued.”

If you are a leader who wants to reclaim energy—be it your own personal vitality, or to infuse energy in others—Energize Your Leadership is a quick read that can help point you in the right direction. This anthology of 16 essays is written by a group of leadership development experts who first met online. Realizing they had a similar passion for helping others infuse energy into their leadership, they banded together and wrote this book.

Each chapter’s content stands on its own, so you can read the book in whatever order makes sense to you. At the same time, there is an overall cohesiveness to the book because each chapter follows the same framework: the author’s personal narrative, a few reflection questions for the reader to ponder, and a summary of action steps based on the theme of the chapter.

The book is divided into four parts, with four authors contributing to each part. Here’s a sampler from four of the authors, selected from each of the book’s sections:

Energize Yourself

Barry Smith shares a personal story of becoming adrift professionally after his work team leader unexpectedly passes away. He explores the fallout of losing one’s purpose, writing “Many times we embark on finding our why only after we’ve lost the energy it once provided us.”

Energize Others

We’ve all worked with difficult people and Carol Dougherty is no exception. She shares a story about an especially difficult colleague with whom she painstakingly built a positive relationship. Writes Dougherty, “[This person] may have been especially difficult, but all people – even difficult people – need to know that they are respected and that disagreement or debate with them is about an issue, not them as a person.”

Energize Your Workplace

Chery Gegelman asks, “What if truth is first discerned in our gut?” and goes on to show us how to make use of an important element of relationship-building: trusting that inner voice to help keep you and your team safe.

Energize Your Future

In a delightful narrative that opens with Jon Mertz’s reflections of his carefree childhood days, Mertz chronicles the fun of splashing in rain puddles, to his “Childhood 2.0” of the dot com boom, and culminating in the bubble’s decidedly non-fun burst. Mertz wraps up his chapter by showing how to infuse “fun” into everyday interactions as a way to bring energy into your work and home life.

One of the strengths of this book is its first-person narrative format. Written by 16 masterful storytellers, Energize Your Leadership will encourage you to reflect on the best ways for you to recharge your flagging energy. With nary a single chart or “to do” list in sight, the lessons contained within are subtle—requiring you to reflect deeply on the stories’ core themes—should you choose to savor their meanings.


Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for the purpose of writing this review. Also, some of the links are affiliate links, meaning if you click the link and make a purchase, I may receive compensation. This doesn’t increase the price of your item and I only review books that I believe my readers will benefit from.


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jennifer Miller April 21, 2015 at 5:03 pm


I would love to publish a guest post from you! Please let me know if you need my email address.



Jennifer Miller April 21, 2015 at 5:04 pm

Terri and Karin,

It was my pleasure to share your stories – they were wonderful.

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