His emotions were hindering his ability to deal with things the way an effective leader should. I also heard him say that he believed emotions, especially those of a CEO, don’t belong in the workplace. So even though he felt them, he never showed them.
He believed that he would be seen as weak, if he showed emotion on the job. He always thought that a good leader was unfailingly strong and didn’t let his feelings get in the way of success.
My client had reached out to me because he was having trouble coming to terms with the direction his business was heading in. It had grown quickly. Perhaps too quickly. The culture had changed. No longer the supportive, collaborative type he had worked so hard to foster in the firm’s infancy. Now, too many teams operating independently. In silos. Moving in too many different directions. He was proud of the firm’s financial success, but worried about its future. Its sustainability.
Challenge Limiting Beliefs
I shared with him that limiting beliefs hold you back from success. If you don’t believe something is possible, you’re not likely to attempt it. Even if you do, you won’t devote much energy to achieving the goal.
More often than not, you accept a limiting belief as true because you’ve learned it from someone else, from something that happened to you, or from another “authority,” such as the media, a book, or a movie.
I challenged his limiting belief that emotions are best left out of business in several ways—I asked him to provide evidence to the contrary, explore where the belief came from, and look at the effect it was having on his life.
We explored and discussed several different perspectives and possibilities:
What if, the management team he relied on to communicate on his behalf, left employees feeling my client had changed? Aloof. Cold. Focused on different priorities now. No longer embodying the values and safeguarding the culture that initially drew them to his firm. More concerned with profits than people, these days.
What if, neither feeling his emotions, nor sharing them, left employees hesitant to share their’s with him? Believing he might not welcome it. Consequently, feeling unseen and unheard.
What if, emotions didn’t make him look weak, but the opposite was true? As a matter of fact, energetically, employees see and feel weakness when they don’t see emotion.
Express Your Emotions: More Impact. Greater Connection.
Fast forward to present day and several months of self-discovery later, my client believes he can share his emotions, and the firm’s challenges, directly with employees. Essential behavior in order to model the firm’s values, safeguard its culture, guarantee a genuine connection with everyone in the office, and address the organization’s sustainability.
The more people express their emotions, the higher they are in “emotional intelligence,” and the more effective they will be in whatever they do.
So the next time you’re reluctant to share your emotions, for fear they will prevent you from doing your job effectively, or make you appear weak, remember that the opposite is actually true. When you have done the work to be able to recognize different feelings, to be with them as they come up , and to share them skillfully, expressing your emotions can be used to create even more impact and greater connection.
If you would like assistance identifying and challenging your limiting beliefs, and/or better recognizing your emotions and skillfully sharing them in the workplace, shoot me an email and we can talk.