Great Leadership Is Based On Emotions

I've been reflecting on leadership recently. There are lots of definitions, quotes, anecdotes and stories about what good leadership looks like. We often speak of it in the simplest form as the person in charge. But we all know that isn't where it ends because it is easy to spot people that are in charge but are not good leaders. If you asked people to expound on what leadership means they would likely say things about someone who inspires, motivates, creates a vision, helps people grow, and communicates. 

For all the words and ways we have to explain what leadership is, it is still one of those things which is very hard to describe. There are so many definitions used, or often times the descriptions are vague. Yet everyone knows it when they see it. I think it is because leadership is more of an emotion. 

Think about it, if you had to describe what happy or sad mean, you end up using other emotions to describe them. If you are happy you are joyful, excited, the opposite of sad. Those emotions don't give a clear understanding of what happy is, but if you look at a person you can usually tell if they are happy or not.

This is why leadership is somewhat hard to describe, yet everyone knows it. They know it because they can feel it. You likely have an emotional response when you think of good leaders or bad leaders you've interacted with in the past.

If you are in a leadership position, or want to be, the most important thing you can focus on is how you make people feel. I understand the old adage about how you can't please everyone, but your goal isn't to find out how many people you can weed out. The goal should be to figure out how many people you can get on board. The teams that win championships have everyone united. Even if you have 90% of the team thinking the same way, including all the starters, you greatly reduce your chances. What do you think the odds are for teams split 50.01% to 49.99%? They have no chance of finding the success they ultimately say they want.

For many, when you start getting into the emotions they don't want to deal with it. They like dealing in facts and logic. Emotions are messy, they are harder to understand and work with. Which is precisely why good leadership is hard to find. 

Great leaders make people feel important


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