As a responsible leader, one of your highest priorities is to generate an organization fueled by open-minded thinking and innovation, constructive conversations, worthwhile partnerships, and sustainable performance. You’re part of a revolutionary leadership movement – spreading in companies, communities, and countries worldwide – to transform human energy into extraordinary results that benefit business and society. A big key to succeeding? Your emotional wellbeing.
Moment to moment, you have access to a range of emotions from despair and fear to contentment and joy. (If interested, dive into this wheel of emotions by Robert Plutchik, psychologist and professor emeritus at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.) An emotion is not just a biochemical event in the body; each predisposes you to think, relate, and act in a particular way. Consider these typical emotions, for instance:
- Anger goads you to respond when someone has crossed a boundary you hold dear.
- Optimism energizes you to confidently stretch beyond what you thought was possible.
- Grief allows you to console yourself and be comforted amidst loss and change.
- Trust helps you rely on someone because you believe their walk matches their talk.
- Compassion opens your heart to authentically care for the welfare of others.
An emotion has biological and cultural functions, yet it’s common to get stuck in one emotion long past it usefulness. Indeed, Post-Impressionist artist Paul Cezanne once said, “Genius is the ability to renew one’s emotions in daily experience.” Being able to acknowledge and tap into your emotions, turn the energy of your emotions into constructive action, and reset your emotional foundation when needed is part of the leadership genius you can bring to your organization and society as a whole.
Emotions are dynamic – you can feel irritated, cheerful, resentful, and a multitude of other sentiments all in one day. (Check in with yourself … as you read this blog, what emotion are you feeling? Anxiety? Curiosity? Something in between?) Yet even when life is a veritable emotional rollercoaster, you’re prone to a center of gravity, an underlying mood that’s part of your core way of being. Like the bass line of a song supports the melody, your signature mood is a steady emotional frequency backing (and coloring) everything you do.
Your happiness and sadness are contagious, spreading much like a disease. Without even trying to you affect the climate wherever you are by broadcasting your emotions and moods. You can try to prevent this from happening – for instance, bottling up your exasperation during a meeting – but in most cases, it won’t work. You’ll cause yourself undue trouble, and truth be told, most people can sense your emotional tone anyway.
A better plan is to realize: the energy of your emotions and moods can be an active force for positive transformation. To create thriving environments at work, ask yourself:
- From what emotions and moods do I usually lead? Ponder this question not once but multiple times. To boost your self-knowledge, ask others to give you feedback too. You may be surprised at what they say.
- How are my emotions and moods affecting the workplace in positive or negative ways? People around you will have invaluable responses to this question as well.
- What emotions and moods would enable me to operate at my highest and best – my most wise, fulfilled, and energized … and help others do the same? Hint, hint: If you haven’t yet experimented with cultivating generosity, awe, gratitude, and like moods as part of your leadership, I promise you: they work wonders!
Most leaders are quick to add new tools such as business planning and customer management to their leadership toolkits. Fewer have stepped up to the charge of elevating people to new levels of generativity, resourcefulness, and wisdom; emotional wellbeing is at the crux of this responsibility. Are you in the mood to embark on this leadership journey?
(Note to the reader: This blog was written from the mood of enthusiasm!)
- Ingenious Paths to Wellbeing Are Often the Simplest
- Let’s Make 2015 the Year of the Ministry of Wellness
- Boost Flourishing At Work With Tips from University of Minn Exec Mary Jo Kreitzer
- 55 Countries Celebrating Global Wellness Day: Are You?
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