your energy is contagious

I’ve been re-reading The Score Takes Care of Itself by the football coach Bill Walsh.
In it, he says:

“Your enthusiasm becomes their enthusiasm; your lukewarm presentation becomes their lukewarm interest.”

Walsh loved teaching people and spent a lot of his time in the book emphasizing how important a skill it is for leaders.

One of the key times he was such a teacher was when he would go over the plays to start their next game (remember the importance of preparation?). It could have been really easy to be boring while going over scripted plays in a dark room. Instead, Walsh mustered all his enthusiasm to get them excited about the plays by saying things like:

“Guys, this one should knock’em on their asses!”
“I think we’re gonna have some fun with this one. It’s a beauty.”
“Fellas, this one should score. No question about it.”

Of course, it helped that Walsh loved what he was doing, so he really was passionate about the plays he drew up. He was then putting in the effort to be sure he shared that enthusiasm with the team.

Now, instead of Walsh’s exciting play diagramming, imagine someone presenting a boring PowerPoint in a monotone voice. If you can’t get excited about something, how can you expect your people to?

You may be surprised by the results you see from your team. And if you can’t get excited, just realize that your feelings are contagious. Bringing enthusiasm to your work is an underrated skill as a leader.

When the audience is bored, it’s not their fault.