Many leaders surround themselves with a protective shell. They disregard their feelings and put on a hard, isolating exterior. They feel that showing much emotion is a sign of weakness not becoming of a leader.
On the contrary, leadership development programs now advocate that showing one’s human side is a sign of great leadership.
Leaders need to connect with their followers. By denying emotions, they distance themselves from those they need to communicate and empathize with. Instead of appearing strong and in control, they show themselves as remote and uncaring. Leaders who are in touch with their emotions are able to communicate more effectively because they understand what others are feeling and can empathize. The more “human” they are, the more they can reach, influence and lead others – especially during times of change.
Truly effective leaders get it. They know what their followers are capable of, when it is time to march forward, and when it is time to gather consensus. The better they understand their team (and their team understands them), the better they can lead.