Do you know the feeling of participating in a meeting where you start with a full energy tank and when the meeting is over, the tank is completely empty? Perhaps you have been in a room with an energy thief.
The thief has many names: energy thief, energy vampire, seducer, mass-seducer, the master of illusion. The concept is found in many forms and covers one and the same profile: of a person who invites trust, but instead abuses others – and no gender is excluded.
For some, it has become a tactical way of life and a way out. For others, it has become a treadmill of endless events, one after the other, that the person see no way of stepping out of because he/she has invited so much drama into his/her life that retirement age seems a lifetime away.
For completely different people, facing the consequences of acting conscientiously, with integrity, is just a far more knotty and complicated prospect than taking the quick-fix route for themselves, at the expense of others.
We’re talking about the seductive energy thief. Not one that we will diagnose in this column, but one we have all met, know or hired, without actually acknowledging their presence among us because that requires a calm mind. Putting them in checkmate requires sensing yourself and having body contact – that you are present in this very moment.
And that’s exactly what the energy thieves dazzle you totally away from: the now. Being able to sense yourself and your needs, standing up for yourself and your values. Because one is quickly thrown into the realm of values described in the energy thieves’ words, and ends up supporting their lack of integrity with recurrent actions that are only a quick fix before withdrawal cries out for the next.
Light people are easy to lure onto this chess board, because they see the good things in the energy thieves and are easily caught up in enthusiasm. Therefore, if you want to succeed in scaling a psychologically safe culture of belongingness, it is crucial that you root out the energy thieves if they don’t toe the line, and ensure that only light people are employed and promoted as so-called Influencers. Because energy thieves breed themselves like lice and fleas.
In connection with President Joe Biden’s inauguration, Amanda Gorman stated the following: ‘There is always light, if only we´re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it’. Together we can take the next step and commit to this addition: ‘If only we’re brave enough to hire and promote it’.
TOGETHER, we can make a difference and make it happen. Put the energy thieves in check, cultivate an environment and a sense of security and peace that fosters more innovation and cohesion among people who become brilliant together once they dare to let go of control in the sandbox, drop the facade and play.
Wherever possible, it would be great if you first screened and built recruitment and promotion pipelines based on an assessment of light and darkness in candidates’ personalities and only then looked at competences. This could be done by ensuring referrals from other light people as the primary approach, rather than passive recruitment, where candidates who have not applied are contacted, in order to check off the demographic group screened for interviews.
Competence is worth nothing if you can’t bring energy and compassion to the table. No more. The time when competences and dark forces were celebrated is coming to an end. I wish I could say that it is already over, but unfortunately there is a built-in transition time associated with any change.
Now, it is finally time to combine light and competence and prioritise the former over the latter so that the light is not eaten up by ink on the CV, which does not unfold constructively in the community with other people.
By prioritising light as the primary factor and letting competences be secondary, learning will take care of itself, because others will by nature give a boost and contribute. We can create that magic together.
The Magician’s time has come. It is the time to do magic with each other, generating energy and high spirits as a community, where the energy thief’s closed heart, manipulation, façade and darkness will be perceived and sensed more and more. Proactive. On all levels.
And those who dare to be ‘brave enough to hire and promote’ precisely this light and scale a community of people who make us all shine uncompromisingly will be the winners in the future.
Founder of the Global Voices project. Belongingness officer and an experienced People Executive.