Don’t let emotional reactions hinder leadership abilities

Harnessing emotions is essential to leadership effectiveness. When under pressure, leaders need to have their wits about them and not allow personal feelings to interfere with executive decisions. Yet studies have shown that bottled up feelings can create imbalance and cause stress.

“The key to self mastery is to develop a greater self-awareness so that you can have an objective viewpoint of your emotions,” says Linda V. Fancy, the founder of MeManagement, a company that runs leadership mastery programmes. According to Fancy, self-awareness enhances the ability to watch one-self from a disassociated perspective, much like a managing director overseeing his staff of selves. “With self-awareness, we have the power to notice the arising of feelings, and discern whether to give them our attention or not,” explains Fancy.

Science has shown us that 95% of the time we are automated in our responses to life, operating from our subconscious mind that has accumulated a lifetime of limited perception.  An impression that was derived from a childhood experience may no longer be relevant to who we are today but may still inflict emotions upon us that interfere with our professional performance.

“I provide people with models to help them see the roots of their perception,” says Fancy, “and with the use of NLP disassociation processes, they are then able to stand back from it as if witnessing their inner ‘me’s’. From that place, which I call the MetaMind, they can redirect their energy to be more effective. Where you put your thoughts is where you put – and potentially lose – your power.”

empowering employees with personal power workshops
A major player in the technology industry empowered 50 of its staff with MeManagement workshops, releasing creativity, enthusiasm and drive.

Recognition of the need for emotional management came to the forefront of organizational development in the mid 90s with the launch of Daniel Goleman’s book ‘Emotional Intelligence (EQ)’.  EQ principles provided a new way to understand and assess people’s behaviour, management styles, attitudes, interpersonal skills and potential.  Goleman estimated that the difference between a good leader and an excellent leader is attributed to EQ. Some organizations have incorporated EQ assessments into their performance reviews and provide work life balancing elements in their corporate training programmes in order to help reduce stress.  But finding a balance between busy schedules and personal time doesn’t shift the tension if pressure from the office is continually weighing down on the mind.

According to Fancy, EQ is the critical factor that determines the quality of our relationships and our ability to perform under pressure.  “Personality differences can get in the way of effective leadership and the arising of emotions can keep leaders unconsciously trapped in their own thinking, creating inflexibility. With the development of self-awareness, leaders have the ability to recognize their own mindset patterns and to understand moods, motives and behaviour in others.  This gives them the power to improve their social competency skills and enhance the quality of relationship with themselves and others.”

As an NLP practitioner, Fancy uses processes that help leaders dis-identify with inner voices of limitation, with the use of techniques to moderate or reframe thoughts. The techniques are popular, especially where quick results are required such as in an environment of crisis or pressure, because it doesn’t dwell on the causes of behaviour but seeks to enable people to shift focus so they can positively redirect their behaviour.

“The workshop adds a different dimension to corporate thinking,” says Poornima, an HR manager from a multinational organization. “The shift in thinking without attaching self to it makes a lot of difference and will help us tackle emotional outbursts and provide clarity on some of the demanding situations.”

Rather than spend weeks in coaching, the workshop attendees run through a series of exercises in a day, developing a better awareness of those “me’s” with drawing and charting exercises, and developing individual self management strategies comprised of tools and techniques to help regain and maintain balance.

“The best thing about the course is that you walk away with real tools that you can use on your own,” says Tania, a business development manager at an engineering firm.  “You’re taught simple visualization techniques, and creative methods for drawing and mapping your thoughts, emotions and perceptions.”

Another workshop participant, Christine, a former banker and now small business owner, says: “this is a very practical hands-on workshop.  It is very useful for difficult corporate situations where individuals feel stuck.  I highly recommend this programme for conflict situations.”

Fancy runs in-house corporate workshops as part of her corporate consciousness and leadership mastery programmes, and also offers regular public personal power programmes and one-on-one sessions. “It’s amazing how these simple exercises can enable people to step back and see the mindset that has held them hostage to their feelings. Self mastery is about recognizing mental processes, motivations and mindset limitations, so that leaders can focus their energy effectively, and positively influence the behaviour of others, to earn their respect.”

More information: Corporate Leadership Mastery Workshops