The Unseen Role of Emotions on leadership decisions – and how Emotional Intelligence can save you!
"My advice to all leaders is to pay attention to your emotions. At least a couple times a week, stop for 10 minutes and ask yourself, “What am I feeling right now?”
Doug Sundheim, a leadership and strategy consultant, writes in his insightful article about leaders' emotions. Can you guess why?
In this article you'll find:
- How the unconscious emotions influence leadership
- What role does emotional intelligence (EQ) has in preventing it
- What strategies can be used for emotionally aware leadership
In the world of leadership, decision-making stands at the forefront of every executive's daily agenda. From strategic choices that can shape the future of a company to day-to-day operational decisions, leaders bear the responsibility of steering their organizations in the right direction. But what if we told you that emotions play an influential, often unseen role in these decisions? What if leaders, even those at the highest levels of management, are unconsciously making choices more based on feelings rather than reasoning?
The Unconscious Influence of Emotions on Leadership
Leaders are known for their rationality, objectivity, and strategic thinking. This is what you expect from yourself as a leader. But, let's be honest; it's not true. At least, this can't be true all the time. Beneath the surface of leaders' "logic" and "reasoning" lies a complex web of emotions, sometimes hiding in the shadows of subconscious, affecting leadership decision-making. Such emotions may operate subtly and unconsciously, silently shaping the choices leaders make – especially when it comes to decision-making in especial situations or in crisis.
Consider a scenario where a manager, driven by a deep-seated fear of failure, opts for a conservative approach when taking a calculated business risk. Or imagine a leader whose past successes have fueled overconfidence, leading to risky decisions without proper evaluation of potential downsides. In both cases, emotions — fear and overconfidence — ARE at play, even if the decision-makers are unaware of their influence. That's the challenge: they act silently.
Ok, now what to do?
The Power of Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
Let's go straightly to the solution: Emotional Intelligence! To understand this phenomenon, we must pay attention to this pretty worn-out concept of emotional intelligence (EQ). But we can assure you that this very concept can provide valuable assets for leaders in their business.
EQ refers to our ability to recognize, understand, manage, and effectively use our own emotions and the emotions of others. It includes self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy, and social skills. You see? Emotional intelligence has still a lot to offer! When leaders possess high EQ and use emotional intelligence, they can better navigate the hidden destructive power of emotional reactions on business decision-making.
Developing emotional intelligence allows leaders to become conscious of their emotional triggers, biases, and blind spots. By enhancing their self-awareness, leaders can recognize when emotions are clouding their judgment and take steps to decrease their impact.
Strategies for Emotionally Aware Leadership
Recognizing the role of emotions in leadership decisions is the first step. Congrats! You have already taken it. But what can leaders do to ensure that emotions enhance rather than hinder their decision-making? That's a good question. Here is the answer:
- Embrace Self-Awareness: Leaders should actively engage in self-reflection to understand their emotional triggers and biases. Do you have a journal? Writing about your emotions can be super!
- Practice Self-Regulation: Developing the ability to manage one's emotional responses can prevent rash decisions driven by anger, frustration, or impatience. Having problem with this one? Try working with a professional (such as Laavu's Performance Psychologist).
- Encourage Open Dialogue: Fostering an organizational culture where team members feel comfortable discussing emotional aspects of decisions can lead to more informed choices.
- Seek Feedback: Leaders can seek feedback from colleagues, mentors, or psychological coaches to gain insights into their emotional decision-making patterns.
- Embrace Emotional Diversity: Recognize that emotions are a natural part of the decision-making process. Do not resist! Actually, diverse perspectives, including emotional ones, can enrich choices.
1) First, remember that leaders are not immune to emotions.
2) Second, explore the hidden impact of emotions on leadership decisions.
3) Third, discover how to harness your emotions for better leadership.
Eager to delve deeper or practice EQ strategies for wiser decisions? Book a free Psychological Coaching session here.