In 2012, the New York Giants’ future seemed destined to end without a post-season berth. They were 7-7 and drowning in penalties, sloppy play, and low morale. After a particularly awful game, the next night the players attended chapel. There high school teacher, Gian Paul Gonzalez, spoke to them about being all in. According to Gonzalez, when playing poker and you feel confident in your hand, you go all in. Being all in became their rallying cry to action, and a call for each member of the organization to re-evaluate their commitment to success. Gonzalez challenged them to be their best selves. The Giants’ team players successfully went on to win the Super Bowl. When you know you have a winning hand, you don’t hesitate to take the risk. That’s the feeling leaders should inspire in those around them and in themselves whether they can clearly see the winning hand or not.
Throughout the course of our lives, we lose focus. At those times, we don’t present our best. That loss comes for a variety of reasons. For example, during the last few weeks, many have been tested by the throes of Mother Nature. Hurricanes, wildfires, and earthquakes have left many in our communities feeling harried. In these challenging moments, we have two choices—to present our best or not.
When we shift our energies from a negative focus, we reconnect to our goals. We can do so via mediation, helping others, and utilizing the team around us. When we do, we find success. We are able to rediscover inspiration and reignited spark. We must avoid being swept away in the sea of emotion that forces us to lose sight of the shore. Having a solid team to hold you accountable can help us remain tethered to our being our best.
One of the other ways we can remain focused is to train our brain to be focused on a singular task. According to David Rock, co-founder of the NeuroLeadership Institute, we should train our brain like a muscle. The ideal of multitasking has trained our brain to be unfocused. To train our brains to focus, we should start by spending small chunks of time concentrating on completing a singular task. Practice daily. If your mind wanders, redirect it back to the task at hand. Increase the time as you would when implementing a new workout regimen.
Another way to remain focused, in addition to brain exercises and mediation, is to pay attention to where you do your best work. According to Rock, most people do their best thinking when not in an office. So, pay attention to the location in which you are most focused. These are your touchstones, your focal points. Revisit these areas when you feel unconnected and need to reconnect to your goals.
When you feel unfocused or drifting from your goals, be an advocate for yourself. Seek out your team to help you reconnect and recommit. Getting the help you need when you need it is part of the success. That success can in turn, lead you to being your best. And, keep in mind, your team is generally well defined when you consider work, but in personal matters, your team can be advocates from a wide range of family, friends and even acquaintances that share a mutual concern or interest. Remember to accept your advocates and support from those unlikely sources so you can maintain your Power of Yes.
Are you a leader who manages people? The answer can determine how effective you are as a leader. Employees aren’t robots. They’re people with feelings and emotions. Emotionally aware leaders balance the day-to-day work and their employees’ engagement. Their success is often a direct correlation with adaptable thinking. According to a report from the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, the benefits emotional leaders receive in the workplace are higher employee retention rates, greater commitment, and better results. In short, an emotional leader is a beacon of light to others they lead.
How can a leader not only navigate the landscape of multiple personalities and emotions, but put it to use? First, it requires decoding emotions and an understanding of visual cues. In addition, the leader will need to be able to communicate differently to individuals based on their personality styles.
Effective leaders incorporate emotion by using these four skill sets:
Leaders who are aware of their emotional state are able to control their egos. Participating in activities that assist in finding mental clarity such as meditation, hiking, reading, or exercising, leaders become more connected to themselves by disconnecting to the world around them. This allows them to look inward for perspective. Leaders who are self-aware also see clearly the strengths and weaknesses of themselves and those they lead. They can perceive emotions and address problems more thoroughly. This clarity helps master egos which is important to leading effectively.
Leaders who are aware of their emotions are better equipped to manage them. When leaders are in control of their emotions, they know how they react to others. They do not fly off the handle or make hasty decisions. Emotional leaders are aware of the impact of their own emotions on others and manage those emotions accordingly. Focusing and practicing being in the present can assist with self-management of emotions. Journaling and paying attention to one’s inner self talk is another helpful means of self-management of emotions.
Leaders who are self-aware and manage their emotions, also have the ability to pick up on others’ emotional cues. This skill is important for impactful leadership. When leaders are socially aware, they are more likely to understand the employees’ point of view and emotional response. They are also able to tailor their feedback based upon their awareness of the person’s emotional state. Leaders do this by watching, listening, and discovering others’ cues.
Leaders combine communication and team building to manage conflict and inspire employees. Clear communication is imperative, but so is understanding and empathy. Employing self-awareness, self-management, and social-awareness assists in achieving the balance within the leaders’ communication. Leaders who employ this style of communication will find it easier to cultivate relationships naturally thus reducing conflict within their team.
As already discussed, emotional leaders are present in the moment. They are connected to their feelings and have a clarity about their purpose. They keep their ego in check. With their connection to self, emotional leaders will be open to others’ emotional states. They can provide support to others whether they are doing well or struggling.
In contrast, when leaders avoid connecting to emotions, they may feel more in control, but it can have a negative impact on the organization. Control is ego driven and does not take people into consideration. As Richard Rose stated, “Ego is the single biggest obstruction to the achievement of anything.”
The Harvard Business Review, Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries talks about four toxic leadership styles. All four are deeply rooted in promoting the leader’s ego. These can be alleviated by being a leader that understands both verbal and non-verbal emotional cues.
- Narcissist. This leadership style involves an inconsiderate and selfish leader who puts their need above others for attention. These types of leaders are prone to belittling others. They are self-centered so everything must be about them. Thus, they are often exploitive.
- Manic-depressive. This leader has a way of swinging back and forth between highs and lows. These types of leaders create an environment of uncertainty. There is no middle ground with these types of leaders. For example, they may draw people to them when experiencing a high. When experience a low, these leaders blame others which comes as a surprise when experienced for the first time. While manic-depression can be an illness, it can also be a leadership style.
- Passive aggressive. This leadership style avoids confrontation even when it is staring them in the face. They express emotions, but only indirectly. With low self-esteem, they may miss deadlines and procrastinate. These types of leaders will undermine projects and blame others. They will become defense when confronted and are often contradictory. They will agree with an idea to avoid confrontation, but will sabotage it one way or another.
- Emotional disconnected. These leaders struggle to read emotional cues of others, and they have a flat manner. They often are matter of fact in their responses and appear apathetic. Their team may view them as detached and caring only about work or the job.
Emotional leaders will need to be aware of their impact on others. Exercising your mind each day to not only remain keen and precise, but also adaptable, as rigid thinking limits your paths to success. Avoiding those four toxic leadership styles will also help strengthen you as a successful leader.
Reach out to me, AmyD the Peak Performance Expert and Trainer, if you want to learn how you can transition to an emotional leader! Email me today, [email protected].