The Emperor is Wearing no Clothes

How well you know your team will decide if you get full or partial buy-in when you need it.  In fact, when you really know your team you will lead them in such a way that they in turn will work for you not just for a paycheck but  as Simon Sinek said, ” with their blood, sweat and tears” What does it take for leaders to know their team? Simple answer- track your team’s emotional tone- then help them see if it causes harmony or disharmony. Pretty simple task yet most leaders fail to take this first powerful and critically important action before jumping in to identify solutions.

Your team’s emotional tone is reminiscent of the children’s fairy tale- The Emperor’s New Clothes.  It took one innocent young bystander to say out loud that the emperor is wearing no clothes. You see, the emperor tricked into believing his new fancy digs were made of a special magical thread that only the smartest and most regal of people can see the clothes- ended up walking around stark naked. Yet no one on his team was brave enough to say anything.

Diagram of emotional intelligence
Diagram of emotional intelligence

This story is a great example of teams and the emotional tone that they operate with. You may hear comments such as “this is how we’ve always done things” or everyone agrees with the leader but nothing seems to get done or at best is done at less than best.  As the leader you see these disharmonious behaviors and emotions but like many leaders fail to address them, instead focusing on the technical aspects of the job.  So how do you gather the courage both as  a leader with a title and those leaders without titles- to let the emperor know he is naked? Three steps to get started:

  1. How does your own emotional intelligence impact the team?  Always start with yourself first before looking for solutions outside. As the leader your own emotional tone will impact the team’s own emotional tone simply because of your position and title and the fact that your team looks to you. They listen to what you say and even what you don’t say. Your leadership style will shape whether or not your team has the courage to speak up and speak out for the greater good of the group and the organization.
  2. Before looking for solutions start with a close look at your team’s unspoken yet agreed to norms.  These are the ground rules or habits you’ve all agreed to as a group. You will need to look past the technical challenges and strategic needs of the job to see these norms that actually show up as dysfunction or a poorly performing group. you will need to have an honest dialogue as a team about what’s working and what isn’t- but from the emotional tone of the team itself.
  3. What gets your team’s attention and intention?  Are they spending valuable time and expertise managing each others emotions and moods? Does the energy of your team resonates belonging or oops! get me out of here! This will let the emperor know he is actually quite naked and needs to put some clothes on!

By taking the above simple steps you can start the critically important process for building the emotional tone of your team to one that is positive, one that sees and speaks the truth in a manner that keeps each team member truly working to their full potential.  Emotional self-awareness increases and with it the team’s overall emotional intelligence.

If you like this post and would like to know how to successfully coach people you work and live with, check out our 12-hour online course that is designed to help you become a better coach   

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Here’s to loving how you live, work and play!

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