Emotions are powerful. In our society, the show of emotions is often shunned and looked down upon as a sign of weakness. A true leader understands how powerful emotions can be and uses them to his or her benefit.
An effective leader keeps emotions in check. There are times when a leader must put their own emotions aside in order to properly address the emotions of their followers. This is especially the case with the display of negative emotions. There may be circumstances that cause a team to be sad, upset, angry, or frustrated. It is not unreasonable to think that a leader would not be emotionally affected by the same circumstances, but, as a leader, it is more appropriate to be strong when your team is weak. Acknowledge their feelings. Be their strength. Avoid commiserating with team members and be the inspiration and voice of clarity that they need.
At one of the campuses that I led, a student was tragically killed in an off-campus incident. The tragic loss of this student hit the student body and the staff hard. I felt it too--Why did this happen? How could someone so young be taken away? However, it was my job to put my emotions aside so that I could assist my staff and students. We needed a plan for grief counseling for staff and students, we needed to assure parents and the community of student safety, and we needed to support the parents of the deceased student in their time of need. I could not be so caught up in grief that I couldn't lead.
No one expects a leader to be without emotion and stoic, but there are times when a leader needs to hold those emotions in until they are among fellow leaders or with family at home so that they can properly lead their team on the job. On the other hand, just as leaders need to withhold emotion, there are times when leaders need to deliberately show emotion. That topic will be discussed in Part 2. Subscribe to the newsletter so you don't miss it!