The Emotionally Powerful Business Analyst Team Leader
I must say from the outset that when the words “leadership” and “emotions” are used in the same sentence, I cringe.
This reaction was likely formed early in my career when, as a young engineering technologist, all of my projects were horrendous failures, not because of their lack of technical merit, but rather because of the irrationality, foolhardiness, idiocy (I could go on but I’m sure you get the idea) of equipment operators. Apparently an insidious, deep-seated mental weakness rendered them incapable of recognizing the sheer brilliance and elegance of my ideas. The Director of Engineering apparently shared this weakness since he arranged a most unwelcome transfer to Personnel Records six months into my job. That foolish move cost him a brilliant young technologist who graduated near the top of his class. It nearly cost me my career.
Leaders today rarely fail because they back the wrong product or make a misstep in an acquisition. They fail because they are insensitive, critical, selfish, arrogant and negative. They fail because they are emotionally weak, like that young technologist. They fail because they are unable or unwilling to harness the power of their own emotions and those of others.
The single most powerful force in the domain of leadership is emotion; the emotions of the leader and his or her constituents.
Some of us are born with natural leadership charisma, but I have never met a natural born, emotionally powerful leader. In fact, just the opposite is true. By nature, we are superficial, self-absorbed creatures. To become an emotionally powerful leader takes a real concerted effort…but it can be done. When one simply decides to study and master one’s emotions, connect with and positively influence others, it’s like turning on a light switch. The change is immediate. Overnight your leadership power will increase tenfold. It is remarkably straightforward and doable. Following are four point to bear in mind.
- Get up Close and Real Personal with the Real You
Recognize and embrace your emotions. These are not simply outcroppings of your personality. Emotions are you. Think of spending your life swimming in a pool of your emotions. They are everywhere, and you are always under the influence of at least one of them. While you may think you know yourself well, most of us really don’t. Knowing your MBTI personality type is not enough. Get up on your own balcony. What really makes you tick? What makes you happy, sad, glad and mad? Watch yourself interact with others. Become aware of your emotions as they occur. Note the events that trigger significant emotional reactions.
- Become the Master of Your Own Emotional Ship
Stop being ruled by old patterns of feeling-thinking-acting that no longer serve you well. Get into the habit of pausing and reflecting. Ask yourself, “What’s really happening here? Regardless of how I feel, what’s the next best step for me, as a leader, to take?”
- It Really is Not All About You
Great leaders seek to create selfless, personal connections. This can only happen when people feel good, not about you, but about themselves in your presence. It really is not all about you. Practice seeing the world through the eyes of others. Practice being totally present with others, even for a short time. Great leaders invest considerable time and energy in understanding others and seeking ways to serve them. Others are not simply pawns in their game but real people with unique needs, fears, and aspirations.
- Stop Sucking the Light out of the Room
Are you a pervasive, positive influence on the people in your organization? When you walk into a room, does it become brighter or do you suck out all the light? Moods make all the difference. And the leader’s mood is especially infectious. Great leaders have a contagious optimism about their organization’s future and constantly convey a strong sense of confidence in themselves and others.
If someone has recommended this article to you, you might want to take notice. There may be some good advice for you personally in the above points. The good news is this: Someone cares about you and your effectiveness as a leader. They believe in you and see the potential of your becoming a much more powerful leader. You can. And it will make all the difference.
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Gregg Thompson is the President of Bluepoint Leadership Development and can be reached at [email protected]. He would be thrilled to discuss any and all aspects of leadership with you. Please feel free to contact him.