Are you an emotional leader?

Are you an emotional leader?


Feelings. They can drive us to reacting 100 different ways to each and every situation. Every course I've taken, Podcast I've listened too, book I've read or keynote I've attended will say the same thing along the following lines:

"The leader that reacts purely to their emotions can leave destruction in their path". 

Alright, that may be dramatic, but although important to listen to, our feelings or emotions to a certain situation can make our decisions destructive, alienating, upsetting and/or have a wider effect on our teams and colleagues. 

Here is some thing I experienced the other day that perfectly incapsulates what a decision made on feelings can do.

The Jetstar Story (yes, creative I know)

I was on an early morning Jetstar flight to Sydney on the day that Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi was killed. This [I believe] led to a number of flights into and out of Sydney to be delayed. This included my flight - which was delayed by an hour and we, the passengers, were not informed until we were on the plane. 

Now, I get it, Jetstar isn't the most punctual airline, but this was not Jetstar's fault and I got that. 

Looking over at the person's phone next to me (Yes, I know that is not OK to do, but my eyes wandered.) I couldn't help but notice that in a matter of minutes an email had been sent to 4 people CC'd with the subject line "Jetstar" and the first sentence reading "Guys, we need to move away from Jetstar." followed by 3 paragraphs, that I didn't read because I realised I was being nosey. 

This particular person may have had a 100 different issues with Jetstar in the past, but what I believe is that sending an email in that moment of frustration could have unpredictable effects on those people CC'd. 

From frustration with having to deal with this issue on top of the 100 other emails they probably have to the cost on the business of switching airlines, that one email could also effect internal culture. 

What I'm trying to say is - our feelings/emotions are important but using them to make split decisions isn't always the best idea. Your team is always watching you and the pressure to make quick decisions can really have an effect on their happiness, especially when those decisions are regarding something they couldn't control (Jetstar's punctuality). 

In that moment I realised how important it is to take a minute, breathe, think about it, then make the call. Not every issue needs to be resolved instantly. 

Agree / Disagree? Would love to hear your thoughts.


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by Sam Smeaton