We often get emotional in business. It’s our passion, life, livelihood and income, and those all come with substantial emotions.
As leaders though, we need to be able to step back and consider what it means to make decisions when emotions are running high. You need to be particularly careful that you’re not making the wrong decisions because you’re emotional.
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Great leaders don’t let emotion get in the way
These lessons were entrenched during my Springbok days, but my experiences on Survivor really brought them home again. Survivor is extreme. You’re tired and emotional all the time and you have to understand that any decision you make there is one that’s filled with emotion.
You need to be so careful – in that state, you still need to evaluate if you’re making the right decisions, and if you’re the best leader you can be, because you’re not the only one who’s tired and emotional.
During Survivor, I often had people on my team who wanted to quit. I wanted to quit. You’re exhausted, you’re hungry, all you want to do is lie down, but the tide’s up and you know that if you don’t fish right now, no one’s eating tonight. You have to overcome your emotions; master them.
More than that, you have to help your team master their emotions too. If someone came to me and said that they wanted to quit, I always asked them if it was because they were tired and hungry and emotionally drained. Their answer would generally be ‘yes, but it’s more than that’.
Okay, I’d reply, so let’s take the emotion out of it. Let’s say you’ve just had a big steak, and you’ve just had your first good night’s sleep of ten hours, (because on average we were sleeping about three to four hours), would this decision still be the right one? And they’d say no. ‘I sacrificed a lot to get here, I’m prepared to carry on.’
In business, the higher up you go, the more important this lesson becomes
There’s a lot riding on your decisions, and you can’t let your emotions get the better of you. Complicating matters further, as a leader emotion is also hugely important.
You need to have empathy and be able to understand people’s situations, and make decisions based on this understanding. There’s a fine line you need to walk, and that takes practice.
Great leaders are decisive
The best decision you can make is the right decision, the second best decision you can make is the wrong decision and the worst decision you can make is no decision.
Whether you’re a team captain making on-the-field decisions, or a business leader operating in tight economic conditions, your team needs you to make decisions quickly, and with conviction.
Leadership is more important than right or wrong
In the heat of battle, sometimes a decision needs to be made within split seconds. It could be the wrong one, but if it’s made with conviction, and if your staff know that it was made with heart and the right intentions, they’ll not only be forgiving if things go slightly wrong, but they’ll be instrumental in achieving success.
Even the wrong decisions can turn out right if they’re well executed, and that starts with your team.