There is a lot of talking (and writing) about leadership these days, and especially about Authentic Leadership.
Yet, being ourselves is the best thing we can be. As women, we are likely to experience a great range of emotions. With our families and our friends we can easily cry, whoop for joy, laugh, become angry and opening up because we feel safe and supported. But when it comes to the work environment, we are more likely to repress positive as much as negative emotions, as if they are career-enemies, perhaps a sign of irrational, out-of-control behaviour...something a leader cannot afford to show.
However, 'emotions' as strong feelings or passions (with a slightly negative connotations to it) are a relatively modern concept. If we go back to the original meaning or ethymology of the word, the latin verb 'movere' meaning 'to move' takes center stage. So emotions are natural, ancestral forces that push us to act. When I see a lion and feel the fear, I can flee or decide whether it is a fight worth having. Without that emotion I could be dead! On the other hand I can actually process information to decide I can fight. So emotions also enable us to analyse, process and review information. This is an important function in any leadership role!
So while I am not advocating that professional women - and men for that matter - should readily display their emotions without control or thoughtfulness, I believe that emotions can be used as powerful energies to drive actions and ignite our thinking process. Furthermore, I believe that natural, positive, emotional responses such as laughther can actually engage the hearts and the minds of people and really show us for what we really are as human beings, fostering trust and building relationships that every leader needs.
But what is your view and experience of using and displaying emotions in a working environment? As a woman, do you fear being judged as 'too emotional'? Please comment and feedback below, I would love to hear!
Alessandra is an experienced mentor, business coach, consultant and strategist. She supports individuals - especially women - and organisations in achieveing their potential through customised, outcome driven interventions . You can find out more about Alessandra here and contact her by email here.