Beware the Handy Emotions

DecisionToo much of a good thing is too much of a good thing.  That applies to everything in life, doesn’t it?  Lovely red wine that’s healthy for the body can become too much red wine that causes accidents.  Overdone exercise can become a cause of injuries.  Doting on children can lead to irresponsible adults.  The balance is always difficult.

And so it is with the advice to extend your emotions as a leader.  On balance, wonderful things happen when you operate from your best emotional self in the tricky interpersonal relationships that are the crux of leadership.  And yet, we can’t take for granted that just ‘more of’ means ‘better’. Continue reading

When Are Emotions Appropriate in Leadership?

Stressful businessman at outdoorsMartin was going through a tough divorce that took him by surprise.  He knew his angst and sorrow showed through at work.  “I worry about how I’m being perceived – less leader-like, more needy.”

Emily had frequent encounters with a colleague who was consistently mean-spirited, un-collaborative, and dismissive of her team’s work.  After six months of forced efforts to find common ground, she admitted she “felt angry at the very sight of him, and totally out of control emotionally when around him”. Continue reading

Defusing Emotional Irritants

One day we were called about a leader, who, angry and frustrated, picked up a chair in a staff meeting and threw it toward one of his colleagues.  It is the stuff stories are made of, because, of course, the norms of leaders are quite clear that expression of emotion is, at worst, a muted response to stimuli.  But leaders are no less human than anyone else.  They, too, experience emotions – and sometimes, under stress, those emotions feel like the proverbial pot ready to boil over. Continue reading