We all would likely agree that leaders are responsible for helping their teams manage the pressures of and times of feeling overwhelmed. But it’s a big mistake to try to encourage them by lowering standards, feeling sorry for them and responding by reducing expectations. Great leaders take the opportunity to help them go to the next level. They encourage, prioritize, keep their energy level high, and give clear direction. This helps the team pass it on, and also lifts the level of belief in themselves. As a result, they put in the effort to succeed, and end up doing more than they thought they could.
When you are the leader, you must be constantly aware of what you are communicating to your team. You can’t transfer your own sense of being overwhelmed. You are the leader because they expect you to take them places they couldn’t/wouldn’t go without you. That means you must continually grow and develop yourself to be in the best position to lead. As a leader, you also need to understand the fears they are battling and realize what challenges they face.
A leader leads the team emotionally, whether or not they are intending that. Emotional mastery must be central for you. When all hell is breaking loose, your capacity to find your center, and to help yourself and others find answers, comes down to your ability to direct and manage your own emotions first.
Extraordinary and effective leaders bring certainty into uncertain environments. In sports, business, school church, or even great parenting, people are drawn to those who have somehow found an internal certainty that guides them. It’s not at all an arrogant or cocky certainty that you are an amazing leader with all the answers. It is having the deep conviction deep within you that you, together with your team, can figure it out.Emotional intelligence is a set of skills or capacities. But we are talking about here is even more than that. It is emotional fitness--psychological strength. Fitness is a state of readiness. Sometimes we know more than we know we know—because we are not in a state of readiness. When you are able to turn on your emotional certainty, you empower yourself to use humor, playfulness, curiosity, compassion, and creativity in the middle of stressful environments. This provides flexibility—an emotional strength—that allows you to tackle big challenges, and bring your team along. People look to you for support, vision, direction. You get a reputation for it.
Positive Intelligence by Shirzad Chamine shows that the amount of true potential that we actually are able to fulfill is controlled by how often our brain works to serve us versus conflicting with our core desires and needs. We all have parts of ourselves that are not helpful. Perhaps you are overly judgmental, fearful, controlling, etc. Shirzad calls these “Saboteurs”. He says if we don’t weaken these forces, we will; not have emotional mastery or maximum psychological power as a leader. On the other hand, we all have parts inside ourselves that are also bold, creative, curious, and determined. He calls these parts “the Sages.” That’s the part of your personality that rises to the challenge and finds the way out, discovers the answers in the most defeating circumstances. Training yourself to be emotionally fit so you can tap into the power of that part of you—instead of letting the part that’s constantly judging yourself interfere—will enable you to actually lead. Changing your way of thinking requires effort, but it’s a skill any dedicated person can learn.While you are mastering your emotions, you must manage your countenance. If you as the leader looks like you are overwhelmed, discouraged, fearful, or distraught, they will not look to you for courage – they will lose confidence in you.
So you must ask are my objectives clear? Am I listening to the right inner voice? Where am I getting my outer counsel? Am I growing in emotional mastery?
Extraordinary, effective leaders manage their emotions well and bring certainty into uncertain environments. The state of the leader becomes the state of the team.