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Why leaders should be emotional…

Table of Contents


If you look at it closely – most performance areas in business – sport – the arts – emergency services – are very similar – that is – if you can productively manage your emotions when the pressure rises, you have a chance to do very well, if you can’t… you probably won’t. If you don’t have a strategy for when for your unproductive emotions strike, you are most likely to struggle to optimise your abilities and performance results.

In the early stages of my own professional career – be it in my business or elite sporting life – negative and unproductive emotions were a major cause of grief. I didn’t always have useful answers when my emotions accelerated downward – sometimes escalating from restlessness to confusion – from frustration to aggression and anger. I was continually disturbed and disrupted in my focus by the weight and impact of unproductive and negative emotions – it was a game-changing factor that drove any low performance and inconsistency.

The self- and – social awareness question is: are your emotions generating productivity and full engagement or hindering it? Business is an emotional arena. Emotions – whether you like them or not – are a major part in how you and others will play in the ‘sport’ of business.


.01 Distractions are everywhere to stir and trigger emotions. Teammates, other departments, your competition, procurement/risk/governance/project committees, family, suppliers – all contribute to disturbing your personal focus – and – stirring a cocktail and ripple affect of unproductive emotion.

.02 Your base mood and emotions impact those around you. You are always in a mood – question is // what is it?. You have to be at your best and be aware of your emotions because those emotions not only impact you – they can be transferred to your direct reports, teammates and affect their performance.

.03 Chemicals that hinder rather than help. An excess of stress hormones and nuero-transmitters generated whilst ‘under the pump’ – like adrenaline and cortisol – are a natural part of conducting assertive business and driving execution – yet – they don’t always help you make reliable decisions and maintain leadership composure if they are in excess.


For example: Hope – Gratitude – Patience – Hardiness – Humility – Love

Engage your people in a series of exercises where-by they generate ideas and practical strategies to be completely unstoppable as a business within 3 years. Ignite the emotions and nuero-chemicals that are naturally produced when we stimulate our minds through mental imagery. When we look forward to something – we generate productive emotions and energy.

When we slow down to think about it – we can all appreciate the power of being recognised and acknowledged by others. It gives us strength and energy. Make a weekly commitment to write at least 3 letters of gratitude to members of your team [ other departments/clients/family/suppliers ] for their hard work – specific and productive contributions – their output and results. Schedule the exercise into your diary weekly to drive your reliability and consistency home. Imagine if you did 3 letters a week for 40 weeks… visualise the impact would you have by touching so many people?

Deliberately set your intention to be patient. Use mental imagery for an important meeting that is coming up and see yourself being patient – despite the different and disruptive issues that arise during that meeting. See and hear yourself being the best you can be in order to obtain the most effective impact and outcome. Design and set your intentions daily – before the performance event as this helps strengthen the character muscle.

At the heart of the process for exercising confidence is self-trust. Use a tool that we call – Best Friend Advice – If you are giving advice to your best friend – it is based on love and care. When you take that advice as your own – that is what productive dialogue sounds like from your ‘inner coach’. Strengthen your confidence muscle by trusting your own advice.

Because Confidence is such a core character muscle – here is another exercise strategy. Get some AIR. Notice the unproductive dialogue in your head when you feel ‘self-doubt’ triggered. A = acknowledge it and accept it: it has happened and is normal. I = interrupt it by breathing deeply and imagining who you want to be at your best – and – R = replacing the self doubt with a more productive thought and feeling – one that is more in alignment with who you want to be. “I can accept that I’m a little anxious and the facts are that most people are before speaking publicly. If I breathe deeply – I’ll be able to control my emotions and concentrate more – I have done the preparation and know my stuff – These nerves will actually help me lift my energy and project my voice.”

We have previously discussed the 3 elements of Hardiness // Commitment – Control – Challenge. If we truly want to be hardy – it means we must proactively commit to maintaining our mindset, nutritional, movement and recovery strategies because we understand that they have a direct impact on moods and our emotions. How often have you not been in control of what you eat or skipped just one meal and noticed that you were more irritated and cranky? What about if you have had an out of control schedule and have been caught sitting all day in back to back meetings – how is your emotional bank account then? What about if you have had the challenge of functioning on little or poor quality sleep – not so productive for your emotions hey?

How prepared are you to deal with the “emotional hazards” in business?
How much “character muscle” strength do you think you have to deal with daily performance distractions?


I get frustrated in the office and it impacts my performance.

I get angry in meetings and it impacts my performance.

I allow poor performance to ‘linger longer’ than it should.

I blame others/external factors when I’m not performing my best.

I avoid significant challenges or give up when I might not look good in the challenge.

I can struggle to maintain my composure under pressure.

I can lose focus when under pressure.

I lack unwavering belief in my abilities in clutch moments/high pressure situations.

I struggle to adapt to others ideas when I think I’m right.

I can struggle to motivate and persuade others when things are not going so well.

I often feel flat and even negative at the end of the day.

I’m not enjoying the ‘work’ as much as I could be.

I often skip meals and re-hydrating because I have so much on.

I sometimes take my ‘unproductive mood’ home with me – and – it affects my home life.

We ask our clients how many ‘YES’ answers they have in order to help them understand just where and how consistently their emotional character strengths are playing out. People ask us – “So – what’s the ideal score?”
We do have a view on that for sure- and yet more importantly – we would love to hear your perspective.
What do you think is the appropriate number of ‘YES’ responses for the Elite Executive?

// Glen Fisher
Founder & CEO