Wayne Baker: The energy you give off at work matters

September 19, 2016

In an article written for the Harvard Business Review, “The More You Energize Your Coworkers, the Better Everyone Performs,” Wayne Baker discusses the implications of expressing positivity or negativity at work. Relational energy, a concept describing how interactions affect emotion, was discovered to significantly affect performance by Baker and colleagues: Bradley Owens, Dana Sumpter, and Kim Cameron. Baker also discusses research conducted with Rob Cross, which discovered that relational energy not only increases mood, it increases key factors in performance, including innovation and creativity.

To foster performance-boosting results, Baker suggests a few actions: build high quality connections, create energizing events, measure relational energy, and use research backed-tools to create a culture of giving.  His investigation shows that the energy individual people give off at work affects the organization as a whole. Similarly, individual inputs combine to generate sizable outputs. Baker concludes, “every action and word, no matter how small, matters in boosting productivity and performance.”

Baker is Robert P. Thome Professor of Business, Professor of Management & Organizations, and Professor of Sociology at the University of Michigan.