Your Feelings Impact Your Leadership

I am sitting at a car dealership. My seat gives me a clear view of all the cars outside the service department. Many are here for routine inspections. Others are here because their cars are broken and need to be repaired. 

I sat in this same seat a few weeks ago, and I was angry. I had been experiencing the same repeated problem with my car, and I let the service coordinator know how displeased I was. At one point in my rant, I stopped and said, “I know you have nothing to do with this, but I am so frustrated that the manufacturer is not owning this problem.”

Now, we have found the solution, and my local dealership is covering the cost even though the manufacturer still denies there is a fleet-wide problem. 

So, I am in a different emotional state than two weeks ago, which will affect how I lead today. 

The same is true for you. Your emotional state will impact how you lead today.

And I don’t think we talk enough about how our feelings impact leadership. So here are two questions I have been thinking about in this regard.

1. How do I feel right now?

I am an Enneagram 5, meaning I am in the thinking triad, and it is not natural to think about how I feel. (I typed that sentence without even noticing that I wrote: “think about how I feel.”)

Asking, “How do I feel RIGHT NOW?” forces awareness, which is key. 

You don’t need to get it exactly right, but noticing the difference between positive and negative emotions is essential.

Are you anxious, fearful, nervous, angry, annoyed, etc?

Do you feel hopeful, grateful, loving, excited, etc?

2. If my feeling is negative, how do I move towards positive emotion?

I paused last week in the middle of the day and noticed I was anxious. (Negative Emotion).

I took my dog for a walk. Being outside is an automatic mood boost for me. I listened to a positive mindset podcast. And when I returned to my desk, I did some deep breathing exercises to force me into the present moment. 

The remainder of my afternoon was more productive, and my leadership was more positive because I took fifteen minutes to move towards being positive.

Being aware of your emotions is critical for leading in the modern world. So acknowledge them, and make sure we are moving towards the positive. 

This week, be a healthier leader and consider your feelings.


Brian Rutherford

Brian Rutherford is the Director of Operations for Leadercast. Brian has been telling stories professionally for twenty-five years. Stories that inspire people to see themselves and the world differently. Stories that challenge people to take meaningful action in the world.

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