Management Principle: Equanimity

Attractional leaders use every opportunity to frame circumstances for followers in a positive way. It’s an inspirational approach that provides hope, confidence and emotional energy in followers. Anything less creates a negative drag that slows performance and compromises excellence in execution. Equanimity is the foundational tool of a seasoned executive–I hope you enjoy today’s principle.

Equanimity. Among the most critical of all influence skills is an organizational leader’s ability to maintain equanimity (emotional balance) during times of difficulty and uncertainly. Daniel Goleman asserts that a leader’s primary role is to lead emotionally, that is, to communicate important messages by properly framing circumstances. Lieutenant General Chesty Puller was quoted as saying, “They won’t get away this time,” after being surrounded by eight enemy divisions. This is the professional approach, the use of positive framing. Equanimity is rooted in one’s personal insight and fueled by confidence, which translates current challenges into tangible opportunities to succeed. The degree to which we communicate negative messages, though stress emotions and tense gestures, we demean and demoralize the troops, creating fear, insecurity and repulsion. Professional leaders who know the art of leading emotionally are attractive in style and rarely ever use a show of force to command obedience in his people. They do what he asks because they admire and love him. He inspires rather than criticize.

Coaching questions: How are you at demonstrating equanimity when things go wrong? What steps may you need to take to strengthen this influence skill?

Read more coaching principles from Dean Harbry on the Internal Innovations website.

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