An Experiment to Test the Power of Your Influence

Incompetent leaders focus exclusively on results.

Successful leaders notice their impact on people because leadership is about human beings, not simply producing a product.

Cary Cherniss and Cornelia Roche list nine strategies of emotionally intelligent leaders in their new book, “Leading with Feeling:”

  1. Monitor the emotional climate.
  2. Express your feelings to motivate others.
  3. Consider how your own behavior influences others’ emotions.
  4. Put yourself in their shoes.
  5. Decipher the underlying emotional dynamics of the situation.
  6. Reframe how you think about the situation.
  7. Create optimal interpersonal boundaries.
  8. Seek out others for help in managing emotion.
  9. Help others develop their emotional intelligence abilities.

Strategy 3:

“Consider how your own behavior influences others’ emotions.”

What happens inside people when you show up? What feelings hang around in the wake of your presence?

Leading people includes leading emotions.

Emotional influence:

Angry leaders don’t hear the truth.

Your team might be anxious about COVID-19, but they won’t tell you the truth if you’re easily angered.

Your anger is more powerful than their anxiety.

Problems multiply when people are afraid to speak up. And you make poor decisions when communication is, “…incomplete or distorted….”


Emotional radar enables me to know how my wife feels when I step in the house, without seeing her.

Your team picks up on your emotions.

Own YOUR mood before you walk into your office or start the next zoom meeting. Don’t be like Pig Pen on Peanuts.

An experiment:

Develop appreciation for emotional contagion by testing your ability to influence others’ emotion.

#1. Brainstorm: if you were in someone’s shoes, what might they find positive? Consider:

  1. The way you greet people.
  2. Smiling.
  3. Bring food.
  4. …?

#2. Choose an idea from your reflection that feels comfortable and doable. (Feel free to go small.)

#3. Record your findings.

#4. If you did your experiment again, what would you do differently?

Have you had an emotionally unpredictable leader? What was the impact of their influence on you? Others?

This post is based on, “Leading with Feeling: Nine Strategies of Emotionally Intelligent Leadership.” See the book for other activities and insights.