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Energizing leaders: DiSC i style leadership

Energizing leaders are spontaneous, outgoing, and encouraging.
4 min read

The energizing dimension of leadership

As one of eight dimensions of leadership, this one tends to be the most collaborative and enthusiastic. It’s a great dimension to draw upon when launching a new initiative, before a big game, or when initiating a change in the focus of your team.

In terms of the Everything DiSC® model, the energizing dimension is located on the northeast side of the model; these leaders tend to be spontaneous, outgoing, and encouraging. Like the other i styles of the traditional DiSC model, they are naturally excited by new ideas and new people, having a need for variety.

What is an energizing leader?

Energizing leaders pump up the energy around them. Ideas flow from their lips. They try to create innovative environments.

Strengths of the energizing leader:

  • They’re able to rally people around group goals.
  • They tend to look on the bright side.
  • They’re comfortable being in the spotlight.
  • They’re often accepting of other people’s ideas.
  • They take time to celebrate accomplishments.
  • They build solid professional networks.
  • They have a knack for selling ideas.
  • They show appreciation for other people’s contributions.

Goals: Popularity, approval, excitement

Would increase effectiveness through: Being more objective, following through on tasks

The energizing dimension has its potential failings, too. New ideas can distract leaders from the routine details and obstacles that need to be taken care of. They can appear to be scattered and inconsistent. Their excitement and optimism can lead them to neglect or discount potential problems.

Source: The 8 Dimensions of Leadership

Energizing leadership

What can we learn from energizing leaders?

Build enthusiasm for the group’s goals

Some people need to see their leader’s energy going toward a goal before they’ll invest their own energy. A leader’s mood can influence the entire team. Everyone loves to feel needed and part of something greater than themselves. Energizing leadership invites others in, welcomes them to the party, and celebrates everyone’s successes. Making time for team-building events, socializing, and off-site meetings can engage your team and align their efforts toward a shared vision.

Leaders ignite the flame of passion in others by expressing enthusiasm for the compelling vision of their group.
Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner, The Leadership Challenge

Yes, who you know does matter

People-oriented individuals, like the energizing leader, make connections with ease. They enjoy being connectors—introducing like-minded people. Others have to do it more deliberately. Building networks can feel manipulative, insincere, or way too time-consuming. But acting in isolation is lonely and ineffective. By including others within your organization and outside of it into your world, you have a ready source of feedback, new ideas, challenges to your way of thinking, and alerts to new opportunities.

… we’ve found that networking—creating a fabric of personal contacts who will provide support, feedback, insight, resources, and information—is simultaneously one of the most self-evident and one of the most dreaded developmental challenges that aspiring leaders must address.
Herminia Ibarra and Mark Lee Hunter, “How Leaders Create and Use Networks,” Harvard Business Review

Learn to lead the rally

It’s up to the leader to create a sense of community and of being part of something important, something that matters. If you show no passion, why should your followers? Deliberate leaders, who are most comfortable making decisions and providing resources, tend to have a harder time of this than others. It’s possible to learn how to be more inspirational, outgoing, and enthusiastic, even if it drains some of your energy.

Let people know that you will not let their ideas drop. Leaders need to capture and amplify the enthusiasm of others.
Jack Zenger and Joe Folkman, The Handbook for Leaders

The pitfalls of energizing-only leadership

Energizing leaders can have a hard time slowing down long enough to address details and obstacles. They want to simply trust in their gut instincts and get moving. Often a leader has to dig into big data and analysis. If a leader rushes too quickly, their followers might see them as distracted, disorganized, or flighty. Thinking out loud or sharing all one’s ideas can make it hard for followers to know what the leader really wants them to follow up on. The questioning and skeptical members of a team can feel dismissed if little attention is paid to their priorities.

Liking to keep things pleasant, the energizing leader often has a low tolerance for negative emotions or conflict. They can let their own emotions build until they become overwhelmed and lash out. Or they avoid conflict that could have led to better decisions or to innovative processes. Working out difficult personnel issues or making unpopular decisions can be very taxing for this type of leader.

One more difficulty comes from a positive drive for movement and momentum. Dealing with process inefficiencies, interpersonal conflicts, and communication gaps can be difficult. At first, these types of issues seem like speed bumps, but they can end up being brick walls if not addressed.


Kristeen Bullwinkle

Steeped in Everything DiSC since 2010. Strongly inclined CD style. Leadership style and EQ mindset: resolute. Believes strongly in the serial comma.

Certifications from Wiley:
Everything DiSC, The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team

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