"People are persuaded by reason, but moved by emotion; the leader must both persuade them and move them." ~Richard M. Nixon
"The ability to summon positive emotions during periods of intense stress lies at the heart of effective leadership." ~Jim Loehr
There are always people talking about how you need to keep your emotions in check if you are going to be an effective leader. The fear is that if you let your emotions take over you lose your ability to think clearly, but too often leaders take it too far. If you take the emotional element out of your leadership style you risk becoming insensitive and passionless. What you need to strive for is to manage your emotions. If you are able to feel your emotions and keep your head about you the impact on your leadership can be extraordinary:
Better Communication – One of the first benefits is that your emotions convey more information to your team. They can sense more importance in an issue, they can see your approval or disapproval, and they can feed off of your passion. Emotions also make you more relatable (if they are managed). Nobody wants to work for a robot, so if you show your human side you can actually increase your approachability which gives you access to more information and feedback from your team.
Less Friction – It takes energy to hold back emotions as it is unnatural. This causes you more stress in your day to day routine and it also can create a build-up of stress since emotions are often your pressure valve. If you are able to manage and share your emotions, you reduce the stress you feel throughout the day and are less likely to have a “blow-up” with your team since you aren’t building up any pressure.
Access to Your “Gut” - Your emotions are often the gateway to those “gut feelings” and warning signs about issues. Because leaders deal with people, there are human elements to decisions and management that must be accounted for in decision making. Data is critical in making decisions, but great decisions also sprinkle in some instinct and “gut feelings.”
Again, you can’t allow yourself to be controlled by your emotions or let them cloud your thinking, but to deny yourself access to them can create just as many problems. Manage your emotions and you’ll find yourself to be a better and more relatable leader.
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