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Managing Energy

Introverted Leaders who have expended a lot of energy on actively interacting with people and activities need time to recharge their batteries and focus on their inner world


Organisational cultures can seem very biased towards extroverts and some aspects of working life can be especially draining on energy. These aspects include:

  • long days with lots of meetings

  • having a lot of people around, especially more extroverted people

  • open plan offices, where you are ‘available’ all the time

  • very full diaries with no thinking time

  • pressures to extend work into socialising

  • frequent and/or extensive travel, particularly on public transport where social interaction may be required.

It can be tempting to stay ‘stuck’ behind the desk!


​Even the classic introvert approach of fostering one-to-one relationships can be draining if there are too many of them. If we end our working day drained of energy, this can spill into family life and then even our relaxation time can be draining, particularly if it has a social element.

What introverted leaders said about the challenges of Managing Energy in the workplace

  • Working in large teams exhausts me. More than three or four people at once is too much for me to be productive.”

  • “At the end of a day with lots of meetings, without reflective time, energy levels dwindle and this has a knock-on effect at home when my family need me too.”

  • “I find it very draining swimming against the tide in an organisation which is hierarchical and pretty macho in culture, and I have experienced a lot of stress.”

  • “My energy levels decrease and stress levels increase ... I become aware of the difference in how I am, how I feel, how others perceive and respond to me. This real or perceived feedback is draining.”

  • “The need to be constantly involved during larger meetings and conferences can be draining.”

  • “Recently, I've had a lot less energy and I am much more aware of how much faster that limited energy drains when I am with a lot of people.”

  • “I had a particularly difficult period when I had a Board level role, going through organisational change and financial difficulties plus two small children. I had a very short journey home from work and then I would walk in to "Mummy, Mummy, Mummy!!" with no time to draw breath, let alone re-energise myself. My profile and impact were definitely affected.”

  • “I have realised that I need to manage my energy. I am no use to anybody exhausted.”

Positive Approaches to Managing Energy


Energy levels may be drained by other challenges in the workplace. You may choose to adopt some of the positive behaviours, described in this toolkit, which could assist in managing your energy levels. These adaptive behaviours have been specifically identified, by introverted leaders, to be beneficial.

In relation to managing your day:

  • going in to work early to get there before others arrive

  • creating time to think and reflect, even if this is just in the car on the journey to work

  • using your calendar to schedule specific time to be alone and for interaction with colleagues

  • working from home where possible.

In relation to attending meetings:

  • reducing travel to, and attendance at, meetings

  • considering whether it is necessary to attend meetings in person or whether to use audio or video conferencing instead.

In relation to relaxation time:

  • choosing not to socialise with work colleagues whenever possible while still fulfilling your work role

  • keeping work-related activities to a minimum at weekends and evenings

  • choosing hobbies and/or sports that you can do on your own or with limited interaction with other people.

In relation to choosing or accepting a job:

  • considering organisational culture before taking on a new job

  • choosing a role where there are not too many people to directly manage

  • working part time if this suits you and is possible.

What introverted leaders said about how they Manage their Energy

  • “Listening to and being aware of how I am feeling and behaving. I try to counter the impact of the introversion on me and the situation by using visual imagery.”

  • “I pace my diary carefully. I need a whole day of time to myself every week in order to be able to successfully carry out my leadership role.”

  • “Diary management by a good PA. Putting in spaces that look like meetings but allow me some ‘me time’.”

  • “I hold as few meetings as possible and keep them short and to purpose.”

  • “Allowing myself time alone following extrovert time.”

  • “I made sure that I could ‘escape’ frequently during the day, and often went to a coffee shop in the hospital where it was relatively quiet. I found this better than trying to take this down-time in my office, in that people would often want to see me if I stayed in my office. I made sure that I got a good lunch break each day, and would often go for a walk or go to the local gym.”

  • “I enjoy swimming, trampolining, dancing, singing along to music in the car - I can do them ‘on my own’ and disappear inside my head. These are better ways for me to relax than, for example, playing tennis which requires me to make a social effort as well.”

  • “I have worked hard to reduce travel.”

  • “Working at home more, rather than going in to the noisy, open plan office where I'm based. I make sure I go there periodically to not be ‘cut off’ completely - but I now have a much better balance. If I am in the office, booking meeting rooms to do ‘quiet’ work, or to hold telephone conversations.”

  • “At various times I have worked full-time but I believe I am more effective and better value for money for the organisation if I work parttime. This gives me more time for reflection so I have more energy and focus at work rather than being driven by my diary and in-tray.”

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