170 - When Emotions Help and When They Hurt Leadership - John Laurito

170 – When Emotions Help and When They Hurt Leadership

In this episode, host John Laurito shares how something uncomfortable can turn into second nature for you. Often, people fear doing uncomfortable or unknown things and then end up getting stuck. John shares what sets successful people apart from those who aren’t. Successful people are able to create an unbelievable life because they do things that others simply won’t.

[0:00] Intro

[1:02] Travel updates

[3:33] What’s John’s point for today’s episode

[5:47] Why do you need to try the things that scare you?

[6:36] The percentage of people who want to stay in their comfort zone

[8:10] Outro

John (Intro): I have been on a quest to learn everything I can about leadership obsessed with what makes the best leaders so good. After running companies small and large for the last 20 years, today I speak on stages all across the world to audiences who are interested in that same question. My name is John Laurito and I’m your host. I invite you to join me on this journey as we explore this topic: What makes the best leaders so good? Welcome to Tomorrow’s Leader

John: All right, welcome to today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader, where we dive deep on all things leader-related, related to leading yourself and leading others. I’m John Laurito, your host today and every day. So I was watching tennis today and I was at the gym and when I’m on my elliptical in the morning, I tend to watch TV and I don’t have any sound on. I’m just watching the TV and I’ll tell you the reason why, because my daughter is a thief and I love her to death. But you cannot leave any electronic device around her, otherwise, it will get swiped, including any kind of charger. If there’s a charger in her vicinity, it doesn’t matter if she’s got five or ten of them in her possession. She will take my charger and it will disappear. I bought countless chargers and now my ear, my ear, whatever we call them, have been swiped. 

John: So anyway, I did get them back, but they were broken. Long story short, I don’t have anywhere to listen to the sound, but I watch the TV and I’m watching this tennis match, which I just watch every single morning. But I’m on this elliptical and it’s the German Open and it is Danielle Collins versus Christina Cassanova. And Danielle Collins is fourth-ranked, I think, in the world, or at least on this tour. So she is favored to win. I don’t think Christina is even ranked at all. So Danielle is very much favored to win. She’s an American tennis player and they are in the final set. Now, in the first set, the underdog, Christina, blew her out of the water, six games to one. In the second set, Danielle played as she should play and won six games to two. 

John: So now we’re tied into the final set. It is a critical, obviously absolutely critical set for both of them. So, Danielle, again, the one favorite to win is winning, I think, two games to one or so in this third and final set. And at some point, Christina is frustrated, what not with one of the shots that she had and basically after a miss. So the ball is dead, just happens to fire the ball back over to Danielle, over to her side. So she’s kind of stunned by this ball. You know, after the play, after the point comes launching right back at her, barely misses her. And she’s really bothered by this, understandably so. Like, OK, it’s kind of this display of really bad sportsmanship. And, you know, there’s a little scuffle out there. You know, you can see her look over like, you know, what are you doing? 

John: And, you know, there was a little altercation there. Again, I couldn’t hear the sound, but all I could do was see this. But I could tell you could see Danielle Collins was visibly upset. She was angry. How dare she hit that ball? I mean, are you kidding me? What was so interesting is I’ve seen a lot of professional athletes and they are so good. And this is no knock on Danielle at all, but they’re so good. It’s just kind of moving past stuff. And whether they had a bad play, good play fumble, whatever it is, they just get it out of their memory and

they move on. For some reason, Danielle did not let this go. You could see her face, facial expression change, her body language change. She was angry and her play, her gameplay changed. 

John: Now in tennis, I’m not a great tennis player, but it’s a game of finesse. And my guess is that adrenaline rush does not serve you, no pun intended, very well, because when you get an adrenaline rush, you want to hit it harder, faster. And that’s what you could see happening. She was swinging at the ball that much harder, just this umph to it, and unfortunately was missing. Like all of her shots, she actually lost nine points in a row. I watched her go from being on top to suddenly losing like two, almost three games. Bang, bang, bang, nine points in a row. She lost and then she finally regained her composure and played the way she does, the way she’s capable. And she actually won. She won that set and she won that whole match. 

John: But what was amazing is how much of an impact that instance when Christina fired up all over and Danielle was offended and all of a sudden her demeanor changed, her mentality changed. She was full of emotions, her physicality changed. She was playing more aggressively and now not playing as well. So there are all kinds of situations where emotions cause bad things and sometimes they cause good things. So my point today is not that emotions when it comes to performance high. Performance athletes or leaders, which we’re going to talk about, is necessarily a bad thing, but there are certain times where it absolutely is. So in this case, this served her poorly and hurt her performance significantly. 

John: Now, if she didn’t snap out of it, she would have lost that match. But she did. She regained her composure. Ultimately, what happens? I see leaders do this all the time. Their emotions get the best of them and they make decisions or they take actions or they respond to somebody in a way that’s very emotional. And it’s interesting. I saw an interaction between a leader and an individual, and this individual in a group setting was kind of firing questions at this leader. And it was definitely sharply, you know, aimed at questions. It was not a positive stream of questions as this leader did an excellent job of staying unemotional and the outcome of it was very positive. Everybody actually in the group felt positive about that interaction. 

John: And a big part of that was the credit to the leader for how he handled that. He didn’t let himself get emotional, which I’m sitting there listening to and I’m kind of getting, you know, frustrated and angry just listening to this line of questioning. But that’s the key. Great leaders have the ability. It’s almost like their fighter pilots where they just keep their calm, they’re cool. They’re collected under the most sometimes intense situations because they know that that’s how they’re going to perform best. That’s how they’re going to respond best. It’s how they’re going to make the best decisions. That’s how they’re going to ultimately lead most effectively. And just think for a minute about the worst decision you’ve made. 

John: Think about maybe recently, maybe it was a long time ago. Maybe it was a financial decision. It was a business decision or a life decision. Whatever it is. Think about the worst decision that you’ve made. And one thing I can almost guarantee is what was part of that decision was emotions in some way, shape, or form. Now, it doesn’t even need to be negative emotions because we know or we can guess that if I’m depressed or sad or frustrated or anxious or angry and I make a decision, it’s probably not going to be the best

decision. But on the other hand, if I have extreme positive emotions, it’s the same way. If I’m overly confident, if I’m euphoric, if I’m ideal, like if I’m just looking at life, you know, overly optimistically, I contend I can potentially make a bad decision. 

John: So one of the most critical things is being self-aware and understanding. And it starts sometimes just with questioning yourself and saying, OK, what emotions am I feeling right now, being conscious of it? And actually, you can write them down. OK, here’s how I’m feeling and ask yourself, OK, if I didn’t have these emotions, what decision would I be making? What action would I take? Very, very valuable exercise. We talked about this in a prior episode, which you can go back to where we talked about how to make great decisions. And this was one of the ways. 

John: But let’s talk about other situations where emotions actually can help your leadership, because one of the things that I found as a new leader, I felt like I could not express emotion. And the reason why is I felt like it made me seem more vulnerable or it made me seem weaker or made me seem I just felt like I had to put this persona on that was this emotionless, stoic, almost a robot. And that was how I led for the first probably year or two years. It wasn’t me. I don’t know who this guy was, but it was somebody who I felt like I needed to be. And it was amazing because ultimately what I found is that that didn’t work. It worked for a short period of time. But in terms of building long-term followers, people don’t want a robot. They don’t want to identify as somebody who has no feelings or expresses emotion. 

John: As a leader, you have to. And it’s actually OK for a leader sometimes to express a lot of emotion. You know, I think about another sports example. I think about the Masters tournament in golf, one of the most coveted tournaments and victories a professional golfer could have. One of the four major tournaments and the Masters is one of the toughest and pretty much the pinnacle of all the professional golf tournaments. Well, you think about the different people that have won this year and credit to and I think I’ve seen his name right, Hideki Matsuyama, the first Japanese professional golfer to win the Masters tournament to win in any major tournament. Unbelievable. He was phenomenal. He was flawless. 

John: But what I will say is when he won the Masters now this is like this is coveted this is the ultimate of the ultimate championships. You could possibly. Professional golfers spend their whole life trying to win this, and they never win it. And here this guy won it at a young age to first from his country to win this. Yet if you watch it on TV, I’m asked by Kevin in the team on YouTube that that is what we’re doing here for this podcast. I’d love you to show the 

clip of this. OK, Hideki Matsuyama, so you can see it for those of you who are watching this episode of his reaction when he won. And I got to say, I was watching and I was just disappointed. I’m like, this guy is showing no emotion. There’s no emotion. Come on, man. Let’s see. Jump up and down. Let’s see. Just put your hands in the air. Let’s see a hug. Somebody let’s see you run around the green. Let’s see you throw the ball, whatever. So you throw your club up in the air, whatever. Just show some emotion so we can experience that with you. 

John: But instead, it was a totally expressionless face. He was stoic. He was as if he just sunk apart in a game of miniature golf, you know, sixth hole, miniature golf. Just it didn’t make any sense that I could not help but feel disappointed. You contrast that. And that’s not

to take away from Haddix’s phenomenal performance. But you contrast that with Phil Mickelson winning the Masters in 2010. Unbelievably emotional. You look at Tiger Woods winning in 2019 after all of his injuries and this unbelievable comeback, both personally and professionally. And he was just a mess emotionally and excited in tears. You look at another person, Dustin Johnson. Dustin Johnson is one of the most stoic, unemotional professional golfers. He’s lith, very well-liked. But in 2020, when he won last year, he broke down in tears. And you know what it was during that interview when he broke down in tears that his popularity went up even more. 

John: So my point is, as a leader, you actually draw people in when you’re emotional. Okay, that’s not to say every single day walking around extreme emotions, but it’s OK to show emotion. It’s actually OK to show anger if you’re angry at something, excitement. If you’re excited about something, proud if you’re proud about something concerned, it’s OK to show these emotions. People are not following you because you are an emotionless robot. They want somebody who is real and authentic. You’ve heard me talk about the importance of being authentic and this is part of that. 

John: So if you’re like me and you feel like, OK, that ideal leader is someone who just, you know, is that fighter pilot that has no emotions ever and never shows it, well, that’s not always the case. You need to show that you’re a real person. It’s OK to express those emotions as long as you know how to manage them and as long as they don’t lead you to make bad decisions or react in a bad way or ultimately take you off course to where you’re trying to get through. That’s the key thing. You know, again, Daniel Collins playing the German Open. Let it happen for nine points. She was out of the running for nine points and something clicked and she got it back and she was back to her, a player, top tier performance, her normal self. And that’s the difference. 

John: So how well you have control over your emotions is the key. It’s not that you don’t have them or you don’t let them show. It’s how you control your emotions and what you do about them. So I hope that helps. That’s enlightening to you again. As always, I love your ideas and thoughts on future topics or future guests. I got tons of other stuff coming up. Stay tuned. Please make sure as always, you share, subscribe, give a thumbs up, go down below, give a five-star review and we will see you next time. Thanks. Take care. 

John (Closing): Thanks for joining us on today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader. For suggestions, or inquiries, about having me at your next event, or personal coaching, reach me at john@lauritogroup.com Once again, that’s john@lauritogroup.com. Thanks! Lead on!

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