Sally Henderson
Executive Mentor
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Blog

Sally Henderson

Is Emotion Blocking or Boosting your Leadership?

I do a lot of change work with senior leaders in creative organisations and the one thing that I see as the absolute linchpin to change and transformation, the thing that can be the biggest blocker or the biggest motivator is emotion.

Now, emotion is typically viewed as a female trait, but it's not. Emotion is what drives every single person that goes to work. In fact, every single person who simply lives. Emotion tells us how we understand the world, the messages we take from the world.

It influences how we think, feel and act.

Now, imagine, in a creative organisation where the overriding emotion is one of fear. Will the clients renew the contracts? Will the best talent stay in the business? Will we hit the figures? Will the network be pleased with our work? Are we going to have redundancies? Even writing this makes me constrict. It makes me feel the fear (even though it isnโ€™t real!) I see creative organisations operating in that state sadly more often than not.

The leaders who stand out for me are the leaders who embrace emotion healthily, who channel it in a positive way, who don't let fear become an overriding driving force.

So to senior talent, male and female, be that a rising leader, established leader or a newly appointed leader, I champion you to really harness the power of emotion in your leadership and to make emotion a really powerful motivator and driving force for good in the industry that you're in.

I want to give you a practical tip on how to really control and manage emotions brilliantly at work, and this is it.

To take, sometimes just even five minutes to check in with two identities. We all have them. We have a personal identity and we have a professional identity. So often, leaders experience conflict because they are not clear on the differentiator between these two identities. So my advice is to do a vision board. Put down on the professionally focused vision board, what is it that represents your leadership now and in the future? How do you want to be seen and understood at work? What are your key traits as a leader?

Then for your personal life, what are your key traits on your life outside of work? What's important to you? How do you want to be viewed when not in a professional environment?

By simply taking a moment to acknowledge and identify the two identities, will give you so much more clarity around the assets, strengths and emotions you can call on at work to excel in your leadership.

I want to put a shout out to all leaders in creative organisations. Embrace emotion. Check in the emotional pulse of your organisation. How is it genuinely feeling? How are your leaders and your talent feeling at work? If you're not feeling great, you can't be and do great. That's a very strong belief of mine. So, take a moment, ask people how they are. Look at their body language. Connect with the energy and the emotion in your organisation as a leader and you will be much more equipped to lead and direct in the most effective way.

Cheers

Sally

sally henderson