“An ounce of emotion can be more effective than a ton of facts.”
The global project team was meeting to discuss how they could create the necessary outcomes to be successful. I’d been ask to advise and coach the leader, and his team, as there was a lot at stake for the company.
The project leader had done a good job up to this point and was a capable leader. Yet at this meeting, as he spoke about project plans, milestones and resourcing issues, his messages didn’t connect or seem relevant to the project members.
The project leader, sensing that his messages weren’t hitting home, began to raise his voice and started using more “we must” and “we have to” language.
I could feel an undercurrent, another energy emerging from the project team members and observed them as they cut off eye contact with the project leader and eyed each other.
This continued for a few minutes when the project leader looked to me at the back at the room and signaled, “any ideas”? I sat forward in my chair and ask, “how are people feeling about where we are right now?”
This triggered a series of questions, concerns and frustrations from many of the team members. The underlying fear was triggered by two board members who had recently shared to others (outside of the team) that this project, with its current direction, might not be serving the company’s strategic priorities.
We changed the objectives of the project meeting, set in place a plan to reconnect with the senior board members and soon thereafter realigned the project outcomes with the strategic priorities of the business. The project leader also got a commitment from the board members that they wouldn’t criticize this project team prior to voicing their concerns directly with the project leader.
Everyone was satisfied and the project delivered significant value to the business strategy.
It wasn’t rocket science that turned the tide of that meeting. It was recognizing when emotional energy deserves attention and then managing those emotions in a professional manner.
This is leveraging the emotional edge. Highly effective leaders are aware of the emotions they transmit, know how to manage these emotions and are able to competently recognize and deal with the emotions of others.
Emotions and feelings happen before thought and they happen at great speed. Giving emotions attention and the legitimacy they deserve will help you leverage the emotional edge.