Passionate leaders are intensely focused on clear targets. Emotional leaders express unmanaged feelings that typically hinder progress and hamper relationships. Leaders need passion. On the other hand, unmanaged emotion is counterproductive. John Maxwell expresses the benefit of focused intensity when he says, “A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion…”
Effective leaders embrace their passion. At the same time they manage their emotions.
How can leaders who lean toward the emotional side manage their emotions? I suggest, turning your emotions inward rather than releasing them like an avalanche on others. I know I’m breaking with established thinking. Everyone seems to say, “Express don’t suppress your emotions.” However, turning emotion inward isn’t suppression. It’s embracing, internally managing, and intentionally focusing emotional energy.
In my experience, managed emotions that are turned inward don’t explode. Managed emotions come out as powerful, energized resolve. Under their energizing influence, listening improves and discussions stay on target. Furthermore, I’m enabled to overcome resistance, and tenaciously pursue vision.
I’m learning to control my responses, slow my breathing, settle my spirit, and transform emotion into clarified passion. I have three suggestions for those wanting to manage emotion.
First, manage your emotions by self-awareness. Learn to see your emotions rising up. Accept and embrace them. Don’t suppress, direct.
Second, exercise self-control. Withhold natural inclinations to express your emotions with unfettered release. Don’t share a piece of your mind you can’t afford to lose. Learn to calm your exterior, breathe calmly and speak gently.
Third, embrace emotional energy. Draw your feelings inward and use their energy to fuel passion.
Taming the lion of emotion makes leaders predictable yet dynamic.
Many thanks to everyone who left comments on the article titled, “Heated Passion or Steady Calm.” Those comments kept me thinking about connections between leading and emotion. Doc’s brief comment, “passion always, emotions never,” challenged my thinking. I’m not sure I understand what he meant but he made me think.
How can leaders transform emotion into passion?