We’ve all witnessed him. That crazy driver who rides our tail or cuts us off in traffic. We shake our head, cuss him out, pity him, or just fall back in fear. What is driving that person to madness? We may never know, but one thing is certain… emotions are driving him.
In our leadership life, we do many things to prepare our team members for their journey with our organization. We provide classes, assign mentors, offer books to read, and so on, all in an effort to set them up for success by providing them with a foundation for their skill set. One thing that is often overlooked, however, is the intentional preparation of their emotions.
Emotions drive everything. Emotions affect everything. We need to always consider emotions when preparing our teams for their areas of responsibility, and this takes considerable focus. We tend to just deal with the tactical elements of the tasks, the things that are tangible and measurable, because they are easy to comprehend but what we forget is that how someone feels, or may potentially feel, about the task they are assigned will have a much greater impact on how they perform it than any technique we train.
Now, remember that competence builds confidence. We must train our associates to a level where their actions become habits. We cannot stop, especially on the important, key steps in their learning, but what we must consider and prepare for is how they will be feeling along the way. Stopping to ask questions and intentionally looking for key indicators like body language or tone of voice will tell us, not only if they are learning how to do something, but more importantly what their confidence and commitment levels are around it. Are we getting their buy-in? Are they believing in the purpose? Will they do the task, even when we are not around? If they are unsure of the process or have a lack of belief around it, they will never perform it to their highest ability.
Emotions ebb and flow. We can be up one minute and down the next. They are never static and as a result, we must constantly look for the emotional indicators of our team members and adjust how we communicate with them. If they are feeling unsure, we must provide clarity. If they are lacking belief, we must inspire. If they are upset, we must soothe. If they are happy, we must be a cheerleader. As emotions rise and fall, we need to help provide a level headed, intelligent focus on the things that matter for our organization. Too often, the feelings drive our team’s efforts without any semblance of strategic direction because we as leaders have not prepared our team to handle their feelings, and worse yet, we haven’t prepared ourselves for the feelings that we may experience along the way. Being conscious of potential emotions and having a plan for how we will handle them, gives us a head start for strategically dealing with them when they eventually do occur.
All performance begins with how we see and feel about ourselves and the roles we perform. Being aware of this impact of personal identity and mindset will help us to design what they look like and control their impact on our own actions and the performance of our team.
Emotions drive everything. Our own preparation, focus and vision of who we are as a leader will move our team, and drive their own emotions to perform. By doing this intentionally, we may just help them to deliver winning results, have more fun in their jobs and, who knows, even be better drivers!