Should leaders lead with emotion?
Is there scope in a world that is fast losing its collective consciousness for emotional leadership?
Who is a leader? Government personnel, political and religious figures, company directors and CEO ? all these are positional leaders. Coming from the world of martial arts I?ll add to this list, Sporting Athletes, a group of non-positional however very influential leaders and role models.
In the arena of sports, in the dynamism of sporting competition, we are sometimes put in situations where our emotions can get the better of us, during these moments what do we do? How do we control our emotions? Bearing in mind that as role models in such situations it is important that we maintain and act with integrity of that befitting a principle centered person. Act with integrity in the moment of choice, an act that necessitates that we understand and conduct ourselves by applying on emotional intelligence.
What is emotional intelligence? From my point of view, emotional intelligence is something that comes into play when somebody winds me up the wrong way. How do I act or react?
My first encounter with the principle of emotional intelligence was as a martial arts competitor in my younger days, I would compete in karate kumite competitions ? semi contact. The rules of engagement in a semi contact fight are that, strikes to the body can be hard however they must be pulled back. Strikes to the head, or face must not leave a mark ? and there is a thing called the 10 seconds rule, meaning that you have 10 seconds to return to your line otherwise you?d lose the match by disqualification.
When I was competing for a place on the England Karate Squad, my opponent came in and hit me hard full contact to my head, I lost my temper and I went in fighting all heart, and no direction, looking to get even; the verdict, well you guessed it, my lack of emotional intelligence cost me a place on the England Karate Squad that year.
My second encounter was in 1994 I was the team captain and number 1 fighter for the Great Britain Karate Team in Berlin, and I was fighting this old school, steel eyed looking Karateka. We square off and I advance [I attack ? head-body] ? point awarded to me ? I advance again this time my opponent comes in and attacks with no control HARD SMACK!! To my face; I was in pain ? I was upset ? and I wanted to get even. With a throbbing pain along the left side of my face and wanting to get even, I step to the line. I looked back at my team members, and I thought if we win this match we take home the Golden Bear (the trophy). I?m the team captain and first fighter which means that I set the tempo of the team ? I have a choice, I could go for personal satisfaction, or lead my team to gold, I look back again, and I know that I have to lead the team to gold, But I have one problem ? I wanted to get even.
Two seconds before the referee motions fight, I step off line and take advantage of the 10 second rule to get centered, and I do a bit of deep breathing and some self talk ?win the fight ? get even by winning the fight ? get even by winning the fight in style ? get even by winning the fight like a champion? after 9 seconds I step to the line totally centered and emotionally divorced from my need to get even, I re-entered the ring and proceeded to win the match, the outcome was that in my role as leader I responded with emotional intelligence to the dynamics of the moment and led us to victory.
Emotional intelligence is all about getting centered within ourselves so that we can act with choice response as opposed to stimuli (natural) reactions.
As a leader if we don?t understand emotional intelligence there is the tendency that we might treat our fellow beings in a harsh and abrasive manner when we?ve been hacked off. For most of us being treated in a harsh or abrasive manner does not inspire, motivate or empower us to go forward and take care of our customers, co-workers, spouse and children with respect, kindness and love.
Leadership is all about getting people to do what you want them to do and have fun whilst doing it; being a leader is about having leadership ability where emotional intelligence is a key quality. The dynamics of the world of commerce and life in general is one in which we are faced with situations that our emotions may lead us to getting the better of us. At theses times, ladies when we are in our valley and men we have entered our cave, do as I did during my competition match in Germany, take timeout (10 seconds) and get centered within yourselves so that in the heat of the moment you can act with integrity and respond to our customers, co-workers, students, spouse, and children, with the love that we are; doing this will help leverage our organisational effectiveness, our Corporate Social Responsibility as well as aid the positive energy that surrounds us as we go about our daily business.
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