"From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life."
Arthur Ashe

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Leadership Notes -- Thoughts on Leading People and Making a Difference in Organizations

Word count this issue: 400

Estimated reading time:  3:15 minutes



Good afternoon from Vancouver!


I’ve been reflecting on how our emotional state can affect not only ourselves, but those around us. Our emotions are, according to the peer reviewed research, contagious. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/brain-wise/201606/emotions-are-contagious In short, if I am in a bad mood in the office, my team and colleagues will pick up on it, and it will spread. 


There are times when I do get frustrated, I am angry, or sad. I know I should not be pushing those away because they can fester inside me. And surely, a “happy, all is well in the world” perspective is a little too sweet. So, what are we to do?


Here are three elements to keep in mind:


  1. Because our emotions are contagious, it is important to experience our negative emotions as privately as possible. Live through them, but not in public. Go for a walk, take some deep breaths, call a confidante, but don’t take your “stuff” out into the office, or frankly, take it home to your family.
  2. Focus as much as possible on gratitude. For example, I have found that being grateful in airports can change my experience of security and airline personnel. I simply show up in the line up with gratitude for the amazing system that works so well, so often and for so many people, and suddenly my mindset changes and interestingly enough so does my experience with other people.
  3. Have compassion for yourself. If you are frustrated or sad, be ok with that. You have a right to your own experiences, and there is nothing wrong with your emotions. (Keeping point number 1 in mind). It might help for example to be curious about what the trigger was; sometimes it’s obvious, but other times we can be triggered without really knowing what happened. Ask yourself about what the trigger could have been? What it might have been caused by. And interestingly, by engaging the thinking part of our brain, the emotional responses will likely be calmed down.


May this week be one filled with alone time, gratitude, and compassion for self, to make us all that much more effective as leaders.