The eight basic emotions we have are Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, Surprise, Anticipation, Anger, and Trust. This comes from a scientist named Robert Plutchik.
As leaders, we experience all of these emotions multiple times a day and sometimes in one meeting.
Have you been there? I have.
But this is part of what we navigate as leaders. We’re human like everyone else, but there is a difference. We’re leading others and they’re depending on us.
This presents different dynamics when it comes to leadership emotions and how we respond in a variety of circumstances.
It matters a lot because what we do will influence others and will determine how they move forward.
“And it shall be: like people, like priest. So I will punish them for their ways, And reward them for their deeds.”Hosea 4:9
Notice in this verse that God said, how the leaders are is how the people will be. Where leaders go is where the people go. What the leaders do is what the people will do.
People follow what they see more than what they hear.
This is so true for leaders and when it comes to leadership emotions, our response impacts more than we know.
This puts added pressure on us as leaders to feel these emotions because it’s not just about us, it’s about those we lead.
This responsibility can be heavy and at times unfair. But the price of being a leader is real, if this wasn’t the case, everyone would be a leader. Therefore, how we handle leadership emotions is vital to our longevity, influence, and productivity.
Which of these eight emotions are feeling the most right now?
The good news is these emotions are cyclical and we’ll experience all of them again and again.
So, here are three thoughts to help us navigate leadership emotions.
1st – Be aware of yourself.
This is big. When we know our emotions we’re able to take the appropriate steps and give ourselves space and the place to vent. This is a form of self-care.
Taking care of ourselves starts with us. This is not selfish, it’s wise. If we’re sick, others will be. If we’re overwhelmed, others will be. If we’re scattered, others will be. If we’re not growing, others won’t either.
When we respond it’s usually going to work out. When we react it’s usually not going to work out.
This is a big step in navigating leadership emotions. When we’re aware of ourselves, we’ll be aware of others too.
2nd – Balance the teeter-totter.
Teeter-totters are like emotions, they can be really high and then really low. It’s up and down with extremes.
But it’s possible to balance a teeter-totter and this is where leaders must strive to be.
When we balance the teeter-totter, we’re putting our emotions in their proper place and not letting them dictate who we are and what we do. This is majorly important in helping us be even keel in the present.
We’re not too high and we’re not too low, we’re in between. This is where being thankful empowers our attitude and perspective. Our eyes will follow our attitude and our body follows our eyes so, when our attitudes are good, everything else will go that way.
Are you balancing the teeter-totter? Or are you Imbalanced?
Here’s how to balance it.
Practice being thankful. This is huge for processing any of the eight emotions.
Have someone to talk to. Having a safe place to vent and share goes a long way. It helps us talk out what’s in us to then walk out what’s needed from us.
Let Jesus be your foundation. This means that Jesus guides your responses, your outlook, your values, your perspective, your hope, and your faith.
This helps guide us when facing the wave of these eight emotions.
3rd – Decompress consistently.
Leaders must decompress in a healthy way consistently. This is a MUST!
When we decompress we’re releasing the tension that we’re carrying, and we’re all carrying tension.
This could be exercise, a hobby, a talent, working outside, or doing something you love. We all need this. The truth is, we all have something we go to. Our job is to make sure it’s healthy and adds to our faith.
Some unhealthy ways are too much alcohol and getting drunk. Confiding in the opposite sex when married or when single. Either way can cause problems. Pills, smoking, isolating, looking at porn, hiding from true friends, putting yourself in danger, and more.
These are attempts to escape. Healthy ways to decompress are ways to be found.
That’s right! When we decompress healthily, we’re finding ourselves in Christ and remembering who we are and who’s we are.
Every leader is navigating leadership emotions and Jesus can help us navigate them daily.
God is with you and the best is yet to come!