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Leadership Secret Two: A Leader’s Edge in Uncertain Times
In the previous post we discussed the quality of pure energy and its impact on your ability to inspire and lead a team. Today we’ll look at the second core quality extraordinary leaders share, EMOTIONAL MASTERY.
When all hell is breaking loose, your capacity to find your center, and to help yourself and others to find answers, comes down to your ability to direct and manage emotions. Extraordinary and effective leaders bring certainty into uncertain environments.
Whether it be in sports, business, or even a great parent, in times of uncertainty people are drawn to those who’ve somehow found a way to find an internal certainty that can guide them. That certainty is not that you as a leader have all the answers, but rather that there’s certainty inside you that, together with your team, you can find the answer and move forward.
We’re not merely talking about emotional intelligence here. Emotional intelligence is a set of skills, or you can think of it as a set of capacities. What I really focus on is emotional fitness—psychological strength. Fitness is a state of readiness. Oftentimes, we have the capacity to deal with something; we know what to do, but we don’t do what we know. That’s because we’re not in a state of readiness. Being able to turn on the emotional certainty to use humor, playfulness, curiosity, compassion, and creativity in the middle of stressful environments gives you a flexibility—an emotional strength—that can allow you to tackle any challenge with your team. And those who do this consistently develop a reputation or a leadership brand. People look to them for support, vision, insight, and guidance.
There’s a great new book out called Positive Intelligence by a friend of mine, Shirzad Chamine. In it, he shows that the amount of true potential that we realize is really controlled by how often our brain works to serve us versus conflict with our core desires and needs. We all have parts of ourselves that are overly judgmental, fearful, controlling, hyper-vigilant, etc. Shirzad calls these “Saboteurs” and he says that if we don’t learn to weaken these Saboteurs, it is hard to have emotional mastery or maximum psychological power as a leader.He also acknowledges that we all have parts inside ourselves that are also bold, creative, curious, and determined. He calls these parts of our personality “the Sage.” Whatever you want to call it, you know that there’s a part of you that can find answers even in the most dire situations. Training yourself so that you are emotionally fit, so you can tap into the power of the Sage in you—instead of letting the part that’s constantly judging yourself interfere—will enable you to make a valuable contribution. Learning to change this in a matter of seconds is an extraordinarily valuable skill that anyone can learn.
So the question is, how well do you do when all hell breaks loose? How would you rate your capacity to bring certainty, creativity, humor, vision, and direction to times of uncertainty? Where would you rate yourself on a 0 to 10 scale of emotional mastery as a leader? And how effective are you at shifting the emotions in others?
In my next blog post, we’ll look at two more qualities of leadership, RELATIONSHIP MASTERY and TIME MASTERY.