6 Measures of Emotional Maturity as a Leader

6 Measures of Emotional Maturity as a Leader

On the good days as leader, you feel like a winning coach at the Super Bowl. On the bad days, you feel as though you’re skiing just a few feet ahead of an avalanche. Most days fall somewhere in between.

To increase your chances of more good days than bad, check your leadership aptitudes and attitudes:

Are You Emotionally “UP” As a Leader?

Show UP as a Leader

For many decades, the citizenry has consistently given Congress the lowest ratings of the three branches of government. The reasons for such low ratings:

1) Gridlock in government; lack of accomplishment

2) Failure to take responsibility for that lack of accomplishment

3) Inconsistent positions on key issues

4) Conduct unbecoming their position

Ditto for leaders in the workplace.

Speak UP as a Leader

Look for opportunities. Take risks. Rather than focusing on what won’t work, consider where the interests of all parties overlap. That’s where the synergies exist for innovation, change, improvements. That’s where all parties can benefit from exploring how they can work together to achieve what none of them could achieve alone.

Stand UP as a Leader

Support your team members when they need answers or resources to get their job done. Be responsive. Show confidence and pride in them and their work. Protect them, when necessary, against unfair practices of suppliers or an overly aggressive customer.

Lighten UP as a Leader

The heavier your workload, the more you need to give your team a chance to de-stress with humor. Whether allowing funky background music, bringing in pizza for lunch, creating a goofy contest, or hosting a competitive sports tournament, a light attitude can increase productivity and job satisfaction.

Shut UP as a Leader

Whining and complaining diminishes your stature, detracts from the mission, and destroys the morale of your team in general. Mouthing off about leaders above you in the hierarchy, about other departments, or about colleagues casts you in an unprofessional light. Stay focused. Keep negative opinions to yourself, and be positive if you intend to motivate your team to do the same.

Grow UP as a Leader

Personal conflict demands the ultimate strength from leaders: putting aside personal feelings to accomplish common goals. Daniel Goleman’s studies and books suggest that emotional intelligence is a far greater predictor of success than IQ.  

During more than three decades of coaching professionals on leadership communication, I routinely hear clients state these issues as their goals for our work together:

  • “Giving executive presentations”
  • “Shaping our marketing message”
  • “Building a cohesive sales presentation that the entire group can use”
  • “Preparing for our IPO”
  • “Increasing executive presence”

But once into the coaching session, the client often identifies their most perplexing problem this way:

  • “My boss (vendor, client, supplier) doesn’t like me and makes life miserable.”
  • “I dislike my boss and despise working for him/her.”

Leading in the face of conflict takes emotional stability, self-awareness, situational awareness, willingness to listen, an open mind, forgiveness, humility, patience, courage, confidence, and perseverance. Professionals who do not have these qualities struggle.

Conflict produces either callousness or growth. No matter the conflict, your challenge as a leader is to keep growing UP.


For more thoughts on leadership communication, Dianna’s new book: Communicate Like a Leader: Connecting Strategically to Coach, Inspire, and Get Things Done (Berrett-Koehler).