How well do the leaders in your organization express their emotions? What about you? Do you appropriately articulate your feelings? Do you use emotional expressiveness to persuade and inspire others?

“Great leaders move us. They ignite our passion and inspire the best in us. When we try to explain why they are so effective, we speak of strategy, vision or powerful ideas. But the reality is much more primal. Great leadership works through the emotions.” ~ Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee, Primal Leadership (Harvard Business Review Press, 2013)

Leaders are responsible for their organizations’ energy levels. While research has demonstrated a strong link among excitement, commitment and business results, many leaders stumble at emotional expressiveness. They hesitate to express both positive and negative emotions in an effort to maintain credibility, authority and gravitas. Consequently, they’re losing one of the best tools for achieving impact.

Leadership and Emotional Intelligence

“The role of emotional maturity in leadership is crucial.” ~ Kathy Lubar and Belle Linda Halpern, Leadership Presence: Dramatic Techniques to Reach Out, Motivate and Inspire(Penguin Group, USA, 2004)

MBA programs don’t teach emotional expressiveness, although professors often address emotional intelligence as an important leadership quality.

Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and manage your—and others’—moods and emotions, and it’s a critical component of effective leadership.

Leaders at all organizational levels must master:

  1. Appraisal and expression of emotions
  2. Use of emotion to enhance cognitive processes and decision-making
  3. The psychology of emotions
  4. Appropriate management of emotions

Every message has an emotional component, so leaders must learn to articulate and express their feelings. Mastering this objective inspires your team in five essential domains:

  1. Developing collective goals
  2. Instilling an appreciation of work’s importance
  3. Generating and maintaining enthusiasm, confidence, optimism, cooperation and trust
  4. Encouraging flexibility in decision-making and change management
  5. Establishing and maintaining a meaningful organizational identity

Leaders create authentic relationships by expressing interest in their people and showing empathy. They must also learn to express their emotions publicly.

In the work I do coaching executives, I find many who are intellectually conversant about emotions… but that’s different than expressing their personal feelings. Not many are comfortable being that open and transparent.

What about you? In your organization, do people express emotions? I’d love to hear from you; you can contact me here or on LinkedIn.