Emotions are a Leadership Asset but a Management Liability?

by Paradigm Associates LLC

Workplaces and Workspaces


For certain aspects of a business, managing using emotions can be detrimental compared with a more disciplined approach. Regarding business decisions related to the overall vision, mission, and goals, relying on data, facts, logic, reasoning, and experience can be a sound way to go. Facts, metrics, and data can be illuminating as they guide strategic business decisions to align goals, objectives, and initiatives. Many employees have come to rely on and respect leaders who set the tone for the company and make decisions from a well-rounded, analytical point of view.

That said, business managers can fall into the trap of getting so busy watching the numbers that they ignore the warning cues from social awareness, resulting in increased employee disgruntlement. Or they may become so remote and distanced that conflicts go on unresolved. Without incorporating emotional intelligence elements such as empathy and compassion, managers can experience unhappy employees, team conflict, and lower productivity.

On the other extreme, managers viewed as overly emotional can set off red flags in others. Not seen as stable, they get described with words like arbitrary, capricious, or inconsistent. People fear what they may do next. It does not inspire confidence in their decision-making.

Leading with appropriate emotions enables leaders to better connect with all levels of employees. Consciously incorporating emotions in a manager’s leadership style can provide the understanding that strengthens teams and improves productivity and morale. An emotionally intelligent leader knows how to drive a successful business while minimizing overall stress. Through motivating employees and helping them see opportunity, they navigate their way through challenges.

A person who regularly incorporates emotional intelligence is usually better able to comprehend sticky situations and resolve conflicts. Typically, they understand their team(s) and are more easily able to guide them in the right direction- turning objectives into reality. Leading using emotional intelligence encourages employees to achieve their full potential. It can reduce employee turnover.

When leading a team, acknowledge that emotions play a critical part in keeping everyone productive and cohesive. As a leader, choose the level of emotion that positively impacts the overall long-term health of the organization or company.