Tuesday, January 12, 2016

How Emotions Enhance Leadership Skill

All great achievements in society start with a conversation. As ideas spread they take on a life of their own. Leaders put themselves at the center of these conversations by influencing the direction of discussion. National, local, business, personal and just about every other type of leader share similar traits. Those who can define events and use emotion to encourage greater action carry the unique traits of great leaders.

Effective communication is intertwined with the ability to motivate people through the use of emotions. Positive and negative emotional communication styles influence how followers feel (Bono & Ilies, 2006). Leaders ability to influence the mood of a crowd can motivate them to act in ways that leads to successfully overcoming challenges.

The Leader can help followers understand and frame ideas in a way that can contribute to better future group performance. Events are socially constructed based on the explanations that are brought forward and don't easily change afterward (Cornelissen, Manere, & Vaara, 2014). Leaders are opinion makers who attract followers that are willing to act on their beliefs.

Emotions help us encode information in a way that helps us recall and remember it (Murray & Kensinger, 2014). Deep processing uses emotions to grease the brains wheels.  A leader that offers appropriate emotional components to their message helps others encode information in a way that creates greater relevance for followers.

The power to give meaning and have that meaning be recalled when people think about an event is an important part of defining our environment.

Leadership communication is about finding meaning for people and helping them generate solutions to problems. The bigger the problem, and the more widespread the effects, the bigger the potential influence of leadership communication that uses emotions to re-frame crisis into something meaningful. When people are seeking solutions leaders with communication skills can step in and make a lasting impact on people that can lead to meaningful understanding and change.

Bono, J. & Ilies, R. (2006). Charisma, positive emotions and mood contagion. The Leadership Quarterly, 17 (4).

Cornelissen, J., Mantere, S. & Vaara, E. (2014). The contraction meaning: the combined effect of communication, emotions and materiality on sensemaking in the Stockwell Shooting. Journal of Management Studies, 51 (5). 

Murray, B. & Kensinger, E. (2012). The effects of emotion and encoding strategy on associative memory. Memory & Cognition, 40 (7).

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