Wednesday, March 13, 2013

On The Impact Of Emotions

It seems to be obvious and easy: A leader picks his team members based on their intelligence, their experience, their achievements, and their professional education. You pick the best ones, put them together in your team, each one on his speciality, and then you are all set for success. Yet, after a while, you realize that things are not going as well and smooth as you might have expected. You begin talking with each one of the team members. You talk about the task at hand, trying to find out what is hindering them to successfully finish the task. You are prepared for all sorts of task related reasons, instead you are suddenly confronted with a whole lot of personal emotions. Things, how people feel about their colleagues, for instance not being acknowledged enough, or maybe even ignored ... the tone of a colleague when talking to another one ... they didn’t like the food ...  your attitude towards them ... they might feel intimidated ... and then it goes deeper. There might also be a lot of positive emotions, like having had a great time the night before ... 

You might think this is not relevant, only working on successfully finishing the task is relevant. Well, think again, when Pandora’s box of emotions is opened. People are all day long exposed to all sorts of emotions, at work and also in their private lives. It never stops and has a deep impact on each one. It might be that an argument at home, when not addressed on time, will have a decisive impact on your project or task. Environment is stronger than willpower, and most people are not even aware of the flood of thoughts and emotions going through them and being triggered by seemingly unrelated events. 

As a leader you must pay close attention to that. You should also have a highly developed sense of self awareness. After all you too are a human being and exposed to the same. Don’t ever underestimate the impact of the complex interaction of thoughts, emotions, awareness in the heads of your team members ... and your own head! A true leader is aware of that and able to pick up the cues and address these issues on time. 

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