Tuesday Morning Focal Point

Emotional Qualities and Leadership

I hear all kinds of comments about emotions from, “I am not emotional,” to, “my partner’s emotions are irrational “and “My kid’s emotions don’t make sense”.  I find that emotions (and the related emotional qualities) in our western world are not well understood or valued.

What are emotions?

First, everyone has emotions.  Emotions are wired into the fabric of who we are.  There are people who think they aren’t emotional or don’t display emotions. These individuals are just not aware of how their emotions show up. They aren’t aware that these emotions are getting expressed.  They think because they don’t cry a lot, they are not emotional – this is false.

This is the second article in a three part series on Emotional Intelligence – read the others here: Emotional Agility and Leadership and Emotional Reactors and Leadership

Can emotions be logical?

In terms of the logic of emotions, every emotion makes sense.  Emotions don’t just come out of nowhere.  Emotions are a natural built-in response to information in the brain.  The reason people don’t understand their emotions is that they have a low awareness as to the information that travels the low route in the brain. the low route is along the amygdala.  Western culture has not placed a tonne of value on emotions. They are misunderstood and often dismissed or ignored. 

If we fail to recognize our emotions, we miss out on a huge set of clues about ourselves and the world around us.  A significant part of emotional intelligence is having an awareness of our own emotional qualities.  There are eight emotional qualities. We all possess each one, at some level.  We may score low in them or high in them in emotional intelligence psychometric testing.  Some even create a paradox insofar as they stretch us in different directions.

The 8 emotional qualities

Regard for Others – Finds the positives in others.  Shows emotional awareness of others.

Independent of Others – Naturally wary of other’s intentions.  Independent and self-reliant.

Follow Feelings – Follows gut instincts and intuitions.  Makes spur of the moment decisions.

Focuses Feelings – Naturally self-disciplined and controls impulses.  Focuses on success and personal achievement.

Introspective – Reflective and enjoys engaging in self-analysis.  Embraces self-development and learning.

Grounded – Prefers to stick to the familiar.  Realistic and practically minded. 

Expresses Emotions – Energetic and enjoys excitement and stimulation. 

Contains Emotions – Low key and stimulated by their inner world.  Controls when and where they express emotions. 

When the emotional qualities pull on each other

To further understand these emotional qualities, one needs to understand that certain ones pull on each other. 

Regard for Others and Independent of Others are in tension with each other. 
Follows Feelings and Focuses Feelings are in tension with each other.

Introspective and Grounded are in tension with each other.

Expresses Emotions and Contains Emotions are in tension with each other.

Some individuals possess a lot of both qualities that are in tension with each other. Others may have way more of one quality than the other.  We are all unique emotional creatures, with some mix of these main eight qualities. 

Our last article was on Emotional Agilities.  The agilities are foundational, but it is actually these qualities that we work on developing and strengthening that will help us in the agilities.  For each of us there may be a few or more emotional strengths, weaknesses, amplifications or suppressions.  We can actively work on these qualities to strengthen them.  We can also learn about why we amplify or suppress certain emotional qualities.  This insight can help tremendously.

Cameron’s Call to Action for emotional qualities in leadership

  1. Do a quick self-reflection on what you think are your strengths and weaknesses. Consider the this in light of the eight emotional qualities.
  2. Do you have any paradoxes where you think you would score high on two emotional qualities in tension with each other?
  3. Once you think you’ve done a good self-assessment, ask a trusted colleague or two to see if they agree. Also ask if they suspect any blind spots.
  4. Consider taking our Lumina Emotion psychometric which allows us to produce a detailed Emotional Intelligence portrait for you.  We will assess your scores on Emotional Qualities, Emotional Reactors and Emotional Agilities.  To take it further, we break it down into three persona’s that you have – your underlying, everything and overextended personas.

Cameron is an Executive Coach and Consultant specializing in business growth and creating psychologically healthy workplaces.