People often look at someone acting with intense emotions — like when they’re excited, angry, enraged, passionate, etc — and say that they are “emotional” at times like that.
They misunderstand emotions. Understanding emotions is one of the most important parts of self-awareness and therefore leadership of yourself and others.
Emotions motivate you. As long as you’re awake you feel motivation. Everyone is always emotional all the time.
Calmness is an emotion. Just because you aren’t running around yelling or losing control doesn’t mean you aren’t feeling emotions. You could just as well call someone serenely under control and relaxing emotional. They’re feeling contentedness or calmness or something like that.
Why is this distinction important?
Some people think of emotions as bad or something that means you’ve lost control. Looking at them that way leads people to avoid emotions — they try to act like they don’t have them. Or they hide them.
People like that are like a chef who thinks cooking means fire, and an out-of-control fire at that, and are afraid of it. Or an athlete who thinks sports are only full on sprints risking injury. They don’t see nuances and are unable to finesse.
If you want to lead yourself or others — if you want to avoid being reactionary and easily manipulated — you want to influence emotions, whether yours or anyone else’s. Treating them with fear and anxiety and associating them with loss of control makes it harder to learn to use them. You become ineffective. You fear exactly what you need to control.
Some other powerful emotions, for your consideration
If you thought anger, rage, and excitement were signs of someone being “emotional,” consider the following emotions. Consider that they can be just as intense and powerful as any other when used by an effective leader in the right circumstances. If you don’t think someone showing them is feeling emotions, think again. If you want to lead, you’re working with a half-empty toolbox.
Learn to make Meaningful Connections
with a simple, effective exercise from my book, Leadership Step by Step.
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