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How Tuning Into Other People's Emotions Can Make You A Better Leader

I used to be an event planner before becoming a Transformational Coach. It was very satisfying and challenging work. It was the kind of job where I had to constantly be the calm in the center of the storm. Clients were adamant about wanting their events to be perfect and seamless.


Except life isn't always like that.


Things happen. Whether it is someone important arriving late, or a venue forgetting to prepare for an entire table, it was constant trouble shooting and thinking on my feet.


But to compund this work, people were often filled with heightened emotions during this time. They were completely consumed with what was happening to them at each moment. So what would normally be a small issue, turned out to be a cause for panic, tension and worry.


And they would look to me to solve it.


So imagine that you have to 'tune in' to other people's emotions in order to best support, lead and guide them in the direction that will create the best results.


That is exactly what business relationships are.


Whenever you are part of or leading a team, dealing with a client, or just another product/service provider, it is all about how aware and able you are to see beyond what the surface problem is.


Because people work from their humanity, sometimes feelings trump logic. And whatever perception they have in the moment has been fueled by their past events and experiences.


Essentially everyone comes to the table with their own baggage.


If someone is being irate and difficult, perhaps they had to fight for significance before and something that is happening now is triggering them.


When you take a moment to dig past the first layer and process what is really behind their behaviour, you are able to better respond to them.


Having a clear and grounded energy without ego is the best way to connect with someone else, support them in their goals and help you achieve yours.


Trying to see what you can do to ease their burden actually facilitates you to lighten your load in the process.


Here are some ways to tune in, show up and resonate with others as a leader in business:


1. Assess what type of personality they have. Are they aggressive, assertive or passive? Or a combination?


Depending on what type of person you are dealing with, you can adjust your style of communication accordingly.


A more aggressive personality will appreciate someone who can respectfully push back without stepping on their toes. You can achieve your desired outcome by appealing to their need to be in control while remaining calm, centered and focused on action and results.


Someone who is more internal and sensitive may want to take a stand, but need a more creative way of dealing with a problem that supports their preference to remain in their comfort zone, but still grow.


2. Are they a leader or a follower?


Your leadership ability comes from your assessment of someone's leadership dynamics. Do they need to be more collaborative, or given encouragement to take charge?


3. What words can you use that will appeal to their sense of self and uplift them during a stressful time?


Being aware of what kind of language a person responds is key in knowing how to communicate. And the simple fact is that everyone responds to positive reinforcement. When you are able to deliver the hard news with compassion, you get a better response and performance out of everyone.


4. Are they Visual, Auditory or Kinesthetic?


Everyone has a style of receiving and processing information that allows everything to 'sink in' more readily.


If they are Visual - Use words like (Seeing Based): imagine, picture or, 'Can you see this result?'


If they are Auditory - Use words like (Listening Based): hear, tune in or listen.


If they are Kinesthetic (Action Based) - Use words like: doing, implementing or actioning.


5. Do they respond well to acts or service or words of affirmation?


You may have heard of the languages of love. Believe it or not, this applies to business as well. If you know someone's love language, you can get them to respond with more enthusiasm.


If someone values acts of service and they are feeling stressed, you may reward them be doing something as simple as bringing them a cup of coffee or giving them an extra day off.


If someone values words of affirmation, writing a little note to recognize them for something that would have gone unnoticed can go a long way.


Simple gestures can have big meaning for everyone.


6. Is something going on for them personally that would affect their mood, response or work performance?


Part of being a leader is truly paying attention to what kind of life they are living and how that may impact their work. Are they a busy single parent or working two jobs? Is someone in their family ill or are they going through a break up? You don't have to he nosy, just observant. Listen and learn your people. Everyone is impacted by their outside lives. The more you expand your world view beyond the office, the more in tune you will be.


7. What personality do you need to adopt to best relate to and resonate with this person?


When you are able to shift your personality to best connect with someone while remaining yourself, you become adaptive, flexible and open minded. And when you combine that with integrity and good intention? Well, you are unstoppable.


***Knowing your audience and adjusting your behaviour, physiology and mentality to compliment and suit the person you are dealing with is a brilliant skill that can truly make you the best leader. When you operate from the heart, you really can't lose.



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