Sally Henderson
Powerful change from the inside out




That One Scary Word standing in the way of your Successful Development


Let's kick off this article with a provocative word...


Some people won’t even read past this word, as talking about emotion can be polarising. But please, humour me, as you may just discover a viewpoint that will support your own growth and development, and that of your business!

Emotion is a word I use a lot as, to me, it is the only place to start when looking to make successful change at work and to develop leadership effectively.

You have to know how a person is feeling to know how they are viewing the world {in their own unique way}. Once you understand this, you can deliver their growth needs in the best and most effective manner.

Despite this, emotion is often seen as a taboo: too “non-British”, feminine, personal, unprofessional, fluffy and even, for some, inconsequential.

So, let me ask you a question:

When was the last time you checked in, and I mean really checked in, with how you are feeling about work and your leadership?

When I start working with my clients, this is where they are blind-sided - because they can’t see what I can see, and don’t know what they don’t know due to being subjective and, ironically, emotional!

It’s much easier to start looking at business growth and leadership development through the lens of business planning, objectives, commercial goals, market dynamics, talent planning, etc.

But it’s far more powerful to start by understanding the emotions in play first.

Unless your emotions are in check, and no matter how good your business plans are, negative emotions and thoughts will get in the way, limiting success and causing problems, and will keep on screaming for attention until they are effectively dealt with.

As I always like to offer practical tips as a thank you for being part of my Leadership Community, I have put together The 7 Steps to Greater Emotional Awareness, to help you get better connected with how you feel. These are:


  1. Keep an "emoji diary" for 2 weeks - bear with me: have 5 emojis or words (if emojis aren't your style) from ecstatic to glum to play with, an mark down how you feel at the start, middle & end of each day.
  2. At the end of each week, mark-up which emojis/words are leading, then identify any patterns & triggers.
  3. What does this tell you about how you're truly feeling at work?
  4. Rank yourself from 1 – 5 in terms of how connected to your emotions you think you actually are - 5 being super connected. What does the number tell you? Are you happy with it? Is it the right number to fly in your role & leadership?
  5. Now rank yourself 1- 5 for how well your emotions serve you: do they help or hinder you at work (5 being super helpful)? (Yes, you can be too emotional at work too!) Again, what does the score tell you?
  6. Look at your job description (if you don’t have one write your own!).  Against each core focus of your role, how does this aspect of your job make you feel? What percentage of your role therefore evokes positive and/or negative emotions?
  7. What does this tell you? What needs to change?

Carrying out the above 7 Steps to Greater Emotional Awareness will evoke new thinking & awareness.

Knowing is one thing, but having an effective guide, expertise and plan of action to commit to successful change/development is another! 

This is where the power of mentoring and coaching comes in, to help you make the right change, effectively. Finding the mentor that is right for you means gaining access to:

  • A safe space to think and understand your real impact, emotions, beliefs & thoughts
  • Clear ways to tackle the sh*t & boost the potential
  • Accountability to make positive change
  • Fresh ideas & techniques so you don't waste energy going in the wrong, expensive direction
  • Opportunity to grow in yourself, your thinking, your leadership, your business & your life

So next time someone asks you “how are you feeling?”, do take a moment to check in with yourself to truly see what the genuine answer is!

sally henderson