Emotions make us human. They have a strong impact on the success, collaboration and engagement of our teams. Research clearly shows that we are all critically affected by our emotions in the workplace. It also shows that the negative influence of frustration has a stronger effect on performance than the positive influence of optimism.
Emotions strongly influence decision-making, creativity and interpersonal relationships. And yet many leaders are uncomfortable with the topic of emotions or are unaware of its influence and impact on leadership, organizational culture and performance. Conscious, courageous leaders are aware of the power that emotions hold. They harness it and make it work for them.
Let me be clear. Bringing emotions to your leadership is not the same as being emotional. Being “emotional” describes someone who is “sensitive” or reacts to circumstances in an intense way when one takes things personal that are not personal.
Being able to process emotions and using the powerful information they contain is a way to improve your capacity to look at the world, take action in it, and accomplish the results you are striving for. If you ignore yours and other people’s emotions and the power they hold, then you set yourself up for unpleasant surprises.
The philosophy of Conscious Business regards emotional mastery as a meta mindset that underlies all other mindsets. Emotions deeply influence how we perceive the world and whether we are able, in a given moment, to choose responsibility not victimhood or curiosity over the need for certainty.
The key is to consciously engage with emotions and leverage the power and energy they have. This means to engage with the power of all emotions the so-called positive and negative ones be it happiness, excitement, gratitude, pride, sadness, fear, anger or guilt.
Conscious and courageous leaders are aware of the power that emotions hold. They harness it and make it work for them.
Over 20 years ago, Daniel Goleman already declared emotional intelligence (EI) as a key competence of leaders: “After analyzing 181 competence models from 121 organizations, I found that 67 percent of key abilities were related to EI. Compared to IQ, EI mattered twice as much.”
Emotions arise from the stories we tell ourselves about what we observe and experience. These stories then consciously or unconsciously influence our actions. The more aware we become of our ability to influence our interpretation of a certain situation (i.e., the story we tell ourselves), the more we can direct our actions.
Have you noticed in emotionally charged situations that our good intentions often go out the window? We know how we would like to behave and show up, but we feel so triggered at the moment that we don’t care about reason or find we are not able to choose an empowering response. Instead, we react.
Emotions arise from the stories we tell ourselves about what we observe and experience.
You can read hundreds of books or attend seminars, but emotional mastery is not about an intellectual understanding of how to lead or have difficult conversations. It is about being aware and Equanimeous at the moment and choosing a helpful response.
People work differently with emotions, and we recognize three different responses to them arising: explosion, repression or expansion of awareness, and management of the emotion. I am sure we all have experienced the harm it does when we or someone else “explodes” because of strong, negative emotion.
For the person showing the strong emotion, it may feel like a relief at the moment, but consequences for relationships and the outcomes they are trying to achieve are mostly negative. And after a short while, it doesn’t feel that good anymore either.
On the other hand, the more we try to suppress or control our emotions, the more control they have over our thoughts and behaviour, not allowing us to operate from a higher level of consciousness and leadership.
The secret is not to control our emotions but to balance, manage and align them with who we are and how we want to lead. It’s key to productively use the energy the emotions carry to our advantage and become aware of the message it sends us so we can act in a productive way.
Interesting read: This Is Why You’re Failing at Leadership
Author: Robin Mugerwa
As a founder of Pearl Generation Uganda, (PG-UG) Innocent, has a profound interest in youth mentorship and leadership. He devotes himself to helping young people around the world achieve their dreams. He has also worked with many different organizations such as the Community Resource Development Initiative, Del Youth Group, Reference Health Service Uganda and Rincol Tech.