When Leadership Emotions Take OverArticle by Maynard Brusman, October 10, 2019
When Leadership Emotions Take Over
Employees look to their leader to establish safety and trust. Leaders accomplish this in part with behavior that is rational, calm, logical and wise. They don’t get rattled by letting situations get the best of them.
Leaders who portray a solid, steadfast source of guidance and direction earn the trust of their people. The opposite is true for leaders who can’t control their emotions when the pressure hits. Employees question their security when their leader shows they’re not putting the team first.
Leadership impatience is a common response to difficulty. Leaders who lack patience in tough situations release frustrations and resentments, showing an intolerance for something not going their way. It can be accompanied by anger and disrespect.
Impatience from a leader is a way of indicating that they believe something is wrong with their people. This is a damaging mindset, even if it’s momentary. People sense this and respond negatively. Leader impatience can also lead to taking shortcuts to make up for lost time, and that has its own set of potential consequences.
Anger and tirades are more serious behavioral problems indicating a lack of emotional control. Employees are put on high alert when the leader overreacts to bad news. People sense defeat and that can lead to depression, high stress and lower productivity. A leader with little emotional control is a liability to the organization.
Leaders can handicap their company by prioritizing their personal agenda over that of the company. When decisions are made favoring their personal gain rather than team accomplishment, the organization suffers. Protecting one’s image or turf can lead to lying, cheating, blame-shifting or credit-grabbing. It is damaging and is a liability to everyone.
Since the most damaging leadership liabilities have to do with the inability to work well with their people, leaders benefit best by making effective relationships a priority. The greatest challenge in minimizing these kinds of liabilities is to find an optimal balance between a focus on tasks and relationships.
In essence, the best leaders have minimized personality-related liabilities by valuing others before self. This is easier said than done. First, it requires an understanding of your liabilities and character. A trusted confidant can offer a different perspective and help you take a deeper look. This may be a close colleague or better yet, a qualified executive coach who has an impartial mindset.
Listen to those who can honestly counsel you and frankly describe what they see in you. They are helping you; be thankful for it. With this new knowledge, work to undo some of the behavior that threatens the unity within the ranks. Your people are not assets to be used merely for the sake of getting work done. They are your partners joining together to support your cause, wanting to succeed together. They want you to succeed as well.
Being mindful of this is the best way to develop appreciation for your people and show them that they are valued. You need to be valued, and so do they. Give yourself a mission every day to add value to them and watch the unity grow. This is the major difference between leaders who overcome liabilities and those who don’t.
If your behavior reflects honesty, authenticity and transparency, your people will see that you care about them and much of the damage caused by your liabilities can be reversed. Respect for your people will be returned multi-fold. Engage your people with enthusiasm and encouragement and you’ll be amazed at how they respond. Let go of control and see how well they grow and develop.
Your leadership liabilities are dependent on your outlook—your attitude. Are you willing to put in the effort to turn it around? Relying on the expertise of a seasoned leadership coach can get you off to a great start.
Dr. Maynard Brusman
Consulting Psychologist & Executive Coach
Trusted Leadership Advisor
Professional Certified Coach (PCC), International Coach Federation
Board Certified Coach (BCC)
I coach emotionally intelligent and mindful leaders to cultivate trust and full engagement in a purpose-driven culture who produce results.
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Tags: emotional intelligence, executive coaching, leadership development, mindful leadership