Friday, March 28, 2008

Does emotions affect your Leadership ?


Emotions are something which one should have complete control of. Else we will have difficulty in handling teams and thereby it reflects poorly on our leadership capabilities. There are many a situations where we act in the fit of anger and repent later for the behaviour. Can this be tolerated by your team members. Often times they may not be matured enough to understand your pressures.

Here is a wonderful article on how not to affect your leadership skills be blurred under the influence of emotions.

Happy Reading



Don't Let Emotions Affect Your Leadership
Ram Charan
The product launch was just six weeks away, and the team's spirits were high -- until Dave, the business unit manager, turned his attention to Jill, the head of sales. She was in charge of training the sales force to sell the new product.
Wishful Thinking
Two months before, Dave had asked Jill to map out the percentage of the sales force that was getting trained week by week, by region. He hadn't yet seen any of the numbers.
"We're kicking off our sales training this week," Jill explained. "I think we'll be able to get all the reps through by launch date."
Dave stiffened and furrowed his brow. He thought to himself, "You mean no one's trained yet?! What have you been doing for the past two months? Where are the percentages I asked you for?"
A Missed Opportunity
That's what he thought. What he said, very calmly, was, "OK. Let's get them trained as soon as possible."
The engineering chief couldn't contain himself. He burst out, "We killed ourselves to get ahead of the competition with this product. Now it sounds like our reps won't be trained in time and we'll miss our window."
Jill offered some mild reassurances, and the meeting adjourned with just an ounce of the boundless energy it had started out with.
A Very Human Failing
There are plenty of warning signs that deadlines and targets might be missed. Leaders too often ignore them for a very simple and very human reason: they need to be liked.
They know what they should do or say, they just have trouble doing it or saying it. They avoid the awkward conversations and skirt the sensitive issues for fear of offending someone.
Do you have a deeply etched need to be liked? If you do, you have a serious threat to your leadership. Unless you can overcome the emotional responses -- the sweaty palms and nervous stomach when you're about to challenge someone -- you can't be an effective leader.
For one thing, your team will eventually crumble, because the non-performers will cause resentment and distrust. What if Dave's product launch ultimately fumbles? His team will resent Jill -- but also Dave for not holding her accountable. And the others might start to wonder, "What is he not telling me?"
Your whole social system will also slowly corrode. Leaders establish the ground rules largely through their own behavior. If you can't be candid, others will think they can't either. Problems get buried when "niceness" is more important than realism and honesty.
Stealth Tactics Don't Work
Some leaders pass the buck when they have to give someone negative feedback. They ask a subordinate to put the pressure on or deliver the bad news.
Others procrastinate. They let frustrations simmer until the non-performance becomes chronic. Then tempers boil over and the leader does something rash, like fire the person. Those paths of least resistance create more problems in the end.
It's far better to confront any slips in performance on the spot, and it's the leader's job to do it. People generally appreciate honest feedback. The sooner they get it, the easier it is for them to make corrections and get back on track.
If they continually don't improve, well, at least there are no surprises.
Taking the Right Steps
To lead others, you have to overcome your visceral reactions to situations that have some degree of conflict or negativity. It is possible. These approaches can help:
• Be conscious of your gut
When a CEO repeatedly wasn't getting reports on the results from a new ad campaign, he stopped asking the vice president of marketing and made the request to a person one rung down.
He didn't think of it as letting the VP off the hook. It just seemed easier to go around him. Easier, because the CEO would unconsciously avoid the complaints and hassles the volatile VP could create.
If you're taking an action because it's more expedient, that's one thing. But if you're doing it because of an unconscious desire to avoid unpleasantness, watch out. Your inability to hold people accountable will bite you. Be sure you know the difference.
• Rehearse
Preparation can relieve the stress of difficult conversations. Even CEOs rehearse when they have to have a serious talk with one of their direct reports. By practicing, you can set the right tone and find words that are strong but perhaps more palatable.
Don't sugarcoat your comments, but you could start by saying something positive: "You've been doing really well with X and Y, but I owe it to you to tell you my concerns about Z."
Rehearsing also gives you time to think things through and prepare for possible reactions. You'll be less likely to back off from what you really think when you're in the heat of the situation.
• Don't wait
Most big problems start out small. That's the time to address them, not at an annual performance review.
If you can't give yourself a pep talk to face up to a person who's not performing well, find a coach to give you the psychological boost you need. Allow yourself to feel uncomfortable, but have the conversation anyway. After a while, you'll no doubt be more spontaneous.
Remember, people will really like you better and respect you more if your feedback is honest and ongoing -- and comes directly from you.
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