As leaders and parents, we often believe we can’t show weakness. As leaders and parents, we believe we must remove all emotion to make decisions, handle conflict, and build trust. But if you are truly wanting your people to follow your lead, showing some emotion will actually forge a deeper convicted trusted relationship with your team or family more than being a stoic, stern-faced, emotionless human being.
The simple fact is, that if what you do every day, your “why”, doesn’t make you vulnerable to cry sometimes than your “why” isn’t your why. When people find their “sweet spot”, which is the point of which their greatest talent and greatest passion intersect as Ken Coleman describes, It creates a passionate movement in one’s body, that can periodically evoke or move a person to tears. For me personally, there isn’t a single staff member at our clinic or either of my kids that hasn’t seen me shed a tear. There are literally thousands of people that have seen me shed a tear as I deliver a passionate talk that has stirred my soul to the core.
We have entire team staff meetings once a month, and it is our time to look beyond the day to day logistics and tactics, and help grow our people. And over the years, we have had some huge conflict, some enormous health challenges, some very real family issues, the pain of loss, and some personal demons and vices to help our people with. And as a passionate, extremely caring leader for all our team members, we have some very real, very raw, and firmly authentic conversations in those settings, that not only stir my soul to tears but may stir our team member’s soul to tears. You see, it is in those very moments of silence, because a word can’t be spoken given the lump in one’s throat and a tear streaming down your face, that real connection, real deep personal interconnections are made, because it is at those very real and raw moments that your team will fully realize that their leader cares so deeply that he or she is moved to tears. It is at those very authentic moments that your team believes that you are real and not some stoic, task-oriented robot. Those moments are vulnerable and poignant, but they aren’t forgotten.
One of our greatest mistakes as the leader of a team, business, or your family is this false impression that we must show a stoic resolve at all times. As a leader, as a parent, those you lead need to see you vulnerable and real. They need to see our emotion and the things that cause us pain. We all want to be a source of strength for our team and for our family, however, strength is not shown by the absence of emotion and pain. Real strength comes in how we process our emotions and our experiences that cause us stress, pain, and loss. Those that we lead and our kids need to see us labor in our trials so that they can see how it is done, while also giving validation to their struggles. The fact is, no matter what kind of highlight reel you or anyone puts on Facebook, we all have struggles and pain. Hiding the pain isn’t the answer. Our struggles are real, our passions can grip our heart, and a deep desire to help our kids or team members grow isn’t easy and isn’t emotionless. Show them some emotion, be real, be raw, be authentic in showing them how to process the emotion of stress, pain, and loss. Don’t be plastic, with emotionless resolve, that isn’t real.