In-depth research by the Gallup Organization supports this view, but old habits die hard. When you think of a powerful leader, do you see a strong authority figure, a boss who cannot be defied, whose disapproval is to be feared? Traditionally leaders have sought to exercise authority, control and power. In the long run this doesn’t succeed, and if it happens to, the result is repression tinged with fear. People perform either not at all or reluctantly when motivated by fear. A leader coming from positive emotions is able to unfold the potential of everyone under him (or her).
You can tell that a bond exists because of the behavior of their followers:
- They want to be in the leader’s presence and have contact.
- They want to be of service.
- They want to perform at their best, which brings them closer to the leader.
- They want to share in the leader’s vision.
- They want to participate in the leader’s success.
- Courtesy of YouTube/Man's Best Friend is a Lion "Shocking True Story"
To create such a bond, you must be willing to build real relationships. Share yourself. Take a personal interest in others and notice their strengths. At the most basic level, you must display healthy emotional energy yourself. Exclude the three toxic “A”s: authoritarian, angry, and aloof.
Emotional bonding isn’t the same as being touchy-feely, overly personal, or wearing your heart on your sleeve. It’s about emotional intelligence, a form of practical psychology. Although they have heard the term, most people have only the vaguest idea what emotional intelligence really is. Cutting through the complexities, you are using emotional intelligence if you fulfill three simple rules:
- Be in touch with your own feelings
- Be in touch with others’ feelings.
- Manage in a way that is never threatening but is inspired and energizing.
To be more specific, there are some basic principles that grow out of emotional intelligence, allowing you to be emotionally clear and effective. These are skills that any successful visionary must possess.
Emotional freedom: In order to bond effectively with others, you must be emotionally free yourself. To be emotional free means, first of all, to be free of guilt, resentment, grievances, anger, and aggression. You aren’t asked to be perfect, only to be clear about your own underlying feelings. We all have negative emotions, but a leader deals with them effectively, for the good of the group. He or she doesn’t give mixed signals or indulge in outbursts and moods. Only in clarity can you trust yourself emotionally and have others trust you.
To reach a point of clarity, the following are very useful.
Feel your body. Sensations of tightness, constriction, stiffness, discomfort, and pain are giveaways that negative emotions are asking to be seen, acknowledged, and released.
Witness your feelings. Emotions suck us in and color our judgment, which is inevitable. But if you observe your emotions objectively, as passing events whose influence will diminish over time, you can resist being drawn in by them.
Expressing your feelings. This means, first and foremost, expressing your feelings to yourself when you know that they are negative and potentially destructive. Learn how to release your negativity in private, and be diligent. Don’t let anger and resentment linger just because you have walked away. They will build up and fester unless you actively express and release them.
Take responsibility for what you feel. When someone else makes you angry, their responsibility lies in correcting a mistake, but yours lies in handling our own emotion – it doesn’t belong to anyone but you. It often helps to keep a journal of our emotional life, both positive and negative. Give yourself credit when you handled a tough situation without blowing up, blaming, or turning resentful. Take responsibility for the times your emotions had an adverse effect on your leadership. Journals are also good places to be totally honest and admit your flaws, with the aim of improving on them.
Share your feelings. Everyone needs a loved one or close confidant who will listen, understand, and offer a new perspective.
Find more perspectives. Emotions are closely tied to beliefs, ego, and old conditioning. When you get angry at someone, you are also saying, “I’m right.” Defuse this self-centered tendency by asking for as many viewpoints as possible. Finding out what others think won’t make you wrong; it will make you bigger in your perspective. At the same time, you will see that anger and judgment are unreliable guides.
Doing these things is not just good for you. When you're emotionally free, it makes other people comfortable and happy to be around you. It makes them energized, feeling clearer themselves.
In every situation make it a habit to ask the key questions of emotional intelligence: How do I feel? How do they feel? What are the hidden stumbling blocks? A leader who can answer these questions will be in a position to create lasting emotional bonds.
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