Personal Energy: an outward Display

By | September 12, 2022

[September 12, 2022]  Several new movies about Britain’s PM Winston Churchill are out.  Historical inaccuracies aside, these movies and other sources tell us that Churchill is a revered figure worldwide for his leadership during World War II.  We also know that Churchill had high personal energy, which helped him get things done.

Churchill was also intellectually brilliant, highly focused, courageous, and a great communicator.  Most people never really see his energy level, but it allowed him to push on where lesser men would have failed.  It is one thing to be intelligent and talented, but little will be accomplished if that person is lazy and indecisive.

“Energy and persistence conquer all things.” – Benjamin Franklin

Where does this high energy come from in a person?  Is an individual born with it, or is it developed through conscious effort?  I don’t know the answer, but clinical psychologists have been studying personality and appear to believe much of it is biologically based.  Nevertheless, like good art, we know it when we see it or experience it.  Energy in a person is related to physical and emotional stamina but is different because stamina can be made better with effort.  I’m less sure about one’s internal energy levels.

High energy helps leaders show that they are interested and respect others.  They continue to work at getting things done when others quit or give up.  It is no surprise that Churchill is known for his “we will never surrender” speech in the House of Commons on June 4, 1940.  Watch any of these movies to get a good idea of how that speech unfolded.

Most of us have experience with low-energy leaders.  They are typically junior leaders because organizations have processes that weed them out long before they attain greater responsibilities and authority.  I once had a Company Commander who lacked energy and was content to spend time in his tent.  We got very little guidance, and he rarely talked to us.

I had a good friend who would write “be energetic” at the top of his notes as a reminder that energy fuels the leader.  Sometimes, he told me, he felt rundown or tired, but he would smile, move about, joke with folks, and do those things that made it appear he was full of energy.  Those listening believed he was passionate and knowledgeable about his topic.

The lesson for all of us is to work at maintaining high levels of personal energy.  That should not be done through drugs or stimulants but by staying in good physical shape, being around other energetic people, and setting a consistent work pace.  Those leaders will get more done and be respected more by others.


Please read my new book, “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

15 thoughts on “Personal Energy: an outward Display

  1. JT Patterson

    Another excellent article by Gen. Satterfield. For those that are new to this leadership blog, Gen. Satterfield is the man in the arena who is willing to take on hard complex topics and simplify them to make them easier to understand and to work with. That is a tremendous value for all of us “average” folks out there wanting to make improvements in ourselves.

  2. Shawn C. Stolarz

    High Energy Leaders Don’t Hide From Conflict
    High Energy Leaders Treat Everyone Like They Matter
    High Energy Leaders Know There is Always a Choice
    High Energy Leaders Don’t Take Things Personally
    High Energy Leaders Don’t Try to Keep Emotions Out of the Workplace

  3. Doc Blackshear

    When we talk about high-energy leaders, we’re not talking about the boss who walks into the office highly caffeinated and offering high-fives left and right. Yes, that’s one type of energy, but real energy ranges from catabolic levels (victim mentality and conflict mentality) to more healthy anabolic levels that promote cooperation, sharing and freedom from judgment. Just thinking.

      1. New Girl #1

        My boss was low energy but it worked. We did his job for him. Bingo win for him!

  4. Colleen Ramirez

    Whether biology of social teaches us energy, use it to your advantage. All great leaders had high energy. Look at Churchill and many many others. All others.

  5. Wilbur Sandman

    Sir, I’m new to your website on leadership and for the past few days have been enjoying reading it. I’m gaining a much better understanding about myself too. Thank you!

  6. Guns are Us

    The debate still rages whether ‘high energy’ is a product of our biology or socially learned. IMHO, I think it is a bit of both. That is why I’m optimistic. Learn to have more energy at least by acting like it. Gen. Satterfield shows us the benefits of more energy – pay attention. And, oh, also get a copy of his book, “Our Longest Year in Iraq.” 😊😊😊😊

  7. Watson Bell

    THis article puts an end to those who are lazy. Be stupid is okay, just don’t be lazy. Have high energy and you will do well no matter what. Oh, a bit of smart helps.


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