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The Emotional Side of Leadership Rick Ginsberg, Ph.D. University of Kansas.

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Presentation on theme: "The Emotional Side of Leadership Rick Ginsberg, Ph.D. University of Kansas."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Emotional Side of Leadership Rick Ginsberg, Ph.D. University of Kansas

2 Being Boss Is Hard! “I think this is the most miserable part of being the managing director of a growing company. One by one I had to replace our earliest supporters….It is a process which is inevitable in a growing business and which takes much of the fun out of it, so that after a few years of sacking one’s old friends one grows to feel that success may not be such a good thing after all, that possibly there may be other, less sorry ways of earning a living in this world. When success ultimately came to Airspeed, I was ready to leave the company, having come to the conclusion that I didn’t much like my job.” – Nevil Shute, “Slide Rule”

3 A Bad Night I can’t believe it. Another Sunday night and I can’t fall asleep. I must have been tossing and turning for five hours. How many stupid sheep do I have to count! Let’s see, if I fall asleep now I can get in three hours before rushing to my first meeting. Darn, I hate nights like this. It’s just that horrible meeting I had with the staff last week. Everyone left so angry at me. Geez, I should have gone along with the boss’ suggestion and selectively fired people…then they would really have gone ballistic. No, I went out of my way to protect everyone. What am I going to do? I’ve got to get some sleep.

4 We’re Just Regular People The leader is just another individual….They put their pants on just like the rest of us do. They have both good and bad traits. From time to time, when things are going badly, their old character traits slip through and they become irritable, angry, irrational and capricious. They behave in immature ways. They exhibit traits that amaze us and we say, ‘I always thought of him/her as a leader! What’s going on?’ They disappoint us. – From: Richard C. Maddock and Richard L. Fulton, Motivation, Emotions, and Leadership

5 The Sleep Test Revisited …responsible people sometimes lie awake at night precisely because they have done the right thing (authors’ emphasis). They understand that their decisions have real consequences, that success is not guaranteed, and that they will be held accountable for their decisions. They also understand that acting honorably and decently can, in some circumstances, complicate or damage a person’s career. In short, if people like Hitler sometimes sleep well and if people like Mother Teresa sometimes sleep badly, we can place little faith in simple sleep-test ethics – Joseph Badarocco, from: Defining Moments: When Managers Must Choose between Right and Right

6 The Unforeseen Reaction From: Steve BrownSent:Friday, July 25, 2008 To:Ginsberg, RickSubject: Radio program Mr. Ginsberg, Hearing you on the radio this morning it became clear to me why our education system is in such a mess. With idiots like you running the school of education at one of our major universities one can understand why our young people’s minds have been lost. Not only the minds of young college students but also the minds of the children they are then sent out to guide armed with the corrupt waste of money you have brain washed them with. I laughed when you went on your spiel of why only teachers should be teachers. What a joke! Trying to compare it to the careers of professionals who make life and death decisions everyday. I have never taken an education class or taught a day of school in my life, but am sure I could give a classroom full of young minds a lot more in one day toward the rest of their lives than you – the esteemed and honorable dean of education at the University of Kansas could give them. I’m sure you would spend your day bashing conservatives and painting an evil picture of this country. Sincerely, Your pal George Hussein Bush PS – Has anyone every told you, you look like Willy Wonka?

7 The Simple Test Question

8 The Square Game

9 The Agony of Decision Making As anyone who has lived in the southeast United States knows, hurricanes are circular structures around an eerily calm eye. As a hurricane passes through, we experience the storm, then the calm, and then the storm again. I write this account from the eye of the hurricane. - a President of a Community College

10 The Human Toll You know, as much as I hated making cuts and dismissing people who were good at what they did, I got a weird sense of satisfaction and pleasure watching my boss’ face as he let me go. He was squirming in his chair as much as I used to when performing the same task. We both agreed that the company culture had changed, and he shared that letting me go was the most excruciating task he had ever undertaken. I absolutely knew what he was feeling. – A Business Executive

11 Human Toll, 2 For me, I was in a state of higher anxiety. I knew I had started a process that was now beyond my power to stop. I bore the responsibility but none of the control. I took long walks at night to try to unwind and sleep. I couldn’t confide in anyone on campus, and I was too new to the state to have established a support network among the other community college presidents. I remember being gripped by my own fears: for faculty who would have to be released, for their families, for the college’s community image, and in all honesty, for my own professional position. Could I, would I be made the scapegoat for this problem? – A Community College President

12 Showing the Right Face There is no question that I felt great grief during this situation, but a president must find private time for these emotions…in this situation, one must steel oneself, because you must act on behalf of others, making sure of their well being and safety. You cannot do this if you abdicate your leadership by indulging your emotions. If and when you decide to fall apart, you must do it someplace else, and later on. People need to know that whoever the leader is, he or she is operating from a position of strength. When they lose that confidence, where can they turn? So I think the leader must be steadfast, must be strong. – A Business Executive

13 Extra Grace Required I work really hard to make Ed happy. I give him what he wants, am always fair and cordial even when he is nasty and passive aggressive; nothing seems to make a difference. He still undermines me at every turn. I can’t please him; I can’t control him; and I am at wits-end trying to figure out what to do next. It literally is driving me crazy. I know it bothers me more than it should. All too often I find myself playing back our interactions. I keep wondering if I should have said something differently. I just don’t get it. If I ever say anything about him to anyone else they look at me like I’m crazy. “Ed, you must just misunderstand him. He’s a great guy.” But he’s not. He’s a jerk, he doesn’t treat people very nicely whom he sees as his inferiors, and he’s a drain on me and the department. Everyone else is clueless about how this guy acts and how destructive he is being. I just can’t seem to let it go. – A University Administrator

14 Coping “You’ve got to have a thick skin.” – a small business owner

15 Coping – Three Themes 1. Order Out of Chaos – Learning – personal growth even from intense emotional struggles 2. Communication and Strategizing as Keys – Be as open as possible 3. Follow Your Heart – Do what’s right

16 Planning For An Emotional Future I can’t go through anything like this again. I’ve got to figure out a better way to deal with these gut- wrenching situations – A University Administrator Emotions are important. They are relevant to our everyday lives They are not merely vestiges of our evolutionary past, like our wisdom teeth or appendix. Nonetheless, for all the importance of emotions, they receive so little attention in our formal education that we are woefully inadequate when it comes to understanding or dealing with them. – David R. Caruso and Peter Salovey, The Emotionally Intelligent Manager

17 Emotional Planning Emotional Regulation Emotional Competence Emotional Awareness Emotional Blueprint

18 Lessons Learned Accept That Leadership Involves Emotional Experiences Be Prepared!! Take Care of Yourself Become Emotionally Sensitive to Others Be Aware of Emotional Potholes Be Willing to Change

19 Lessons Learned, II Own Your Expressions Don’t Panic Be Persistent Become Emotionally Aware Learn to Regulate Your Emotions Develop Your Emotional Plan

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