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emotional intelligence - key to leadership influence
Photo by Hamed Saber

Have you ever noticed that some of the most magnetic personalities exude a quiet confidence that invites you to follow them?

Have you ever marveled at those who, even in the midst of a storm, project a calm demeanor, able to make rational decisions that compel you to trust what they have to say?

Have you ever wondered how those charismatic, in control people cultivated such a commanding presence?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, consider the lesson my daughter learned in actor Jeff Goldblum’s acting class.

Shortly after Lisa graduated from college, she moved to California and quickly signed up to take acting lessons. She called me one day upset because of stinging criticism offered earlier that afternoon by a substitute instructor.

“Mom, he was so cruel! He kept yelling at me to respond to what the other actor was doing! And I was so shaken that I couldn’t think. My energy was firing in a thousand directions and it was impossible to focus.”

“So, how did you handle that?” I asked.

“I cried. Mom, I’ve cried all afternoon because I don’t know what he wants me to do! I don’t understand!”

“What did the other students have to say?”

“They told me that I was so real when I broke down and cried. Of course, I was real! I hurt so badly I couldn’t stop crying.”

After listening for a few minutes, I was confident I understood the problem. Her acting instructor wanted her to play the scene authentically, and for that she needed to be present to the moment. She only became present when she felt the sting of criticism. Contrary to what she thought, she had been “play acting.”

In class later that week, she acted on a suggestion I’d given her, and her instructor was awestruck by the remarkable shift that had taken place in her performance. “Lisa, can you tell us what you did differently today? You were amazing!”

She was authentic— present to what was going on in her body moment to moment. Being present allowed her access to her feelings. Once she was aware of the other actors on stage, she was able to sense how their actions affected her, and she responded authentically. As a result, her classmates erupted in heartfelt verbal applause.

It’s no different for anyone, on stage or off; imitators are exposed and phonies are quickly spotted. Powerful actors come from an authentic place, and powerful leaders do, too. Powerful leaders know themselves—they know what they’re feeling, what their emotions mean, and how their emotions can affect other people. In other words, they rank high in emotional intelligence. They are aware of what is going on around them and inside of them. They tend to listen intently to what is said and to what is unsaid, and they stay deeply in touch with that small voice within that allows them to make the wisest decision regardless of the circumstances.

Magnetic leaders are not people who fly off the handle, yell, slam doors, and scream at their people when unhappy about the way things are going. On the contrary, they’re able to remain in control and calmly assess any situation.
Authentic leaders are courageous, able to make unpopular decisions if they believe it is the right thing to do. They do not compromise their principles regardless of the pressure exerted on them to do so. Because authentic leaders are people of integrity, discipline, and self-control who focus on serving as opposed to being served, they are an enduring influence–people with the capacity to bring others together to create sustainable results, lasting change.

Want to be a more authentic, more magnetic leader? Be your own best coach. Ask yourself:

• How aware am I of my personal beliefs and the impact of those beliefs on my behavior?

• How aware am I of the impact of my behavior on others?

• How aware am I of my own feelings and the beliefs and thoughts that are triggering those feelings?

• Do I understand what it is that is driving my thoughts and beliefs that cause me to get upset and lose emotional control?

• What could I do to expand my awareness of what I think and feel, better able to self-regulate, better able to make wise decisions as opposed to engaging in reactive behaviors?

Master your emotions or they master you. Master you and you possess the potential to become a person of significant positive influence.

To discover how you can learn to master control over yourself and positively impact all your relationships, click on the following link: Amazon Bestseller, You CAN Teach a Pig to Sing

To get a short weekly video message focused on strategies that will help you become a more positive, powerful presence in the lives of others, click on the following link and sign up today:

Your thoughts on this topic are most welcome!!!

(c) Mary Jane Mapes 2015 All rights reserved.

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