Laggards, Loners & Leaders
Your environment consists of Laggards, Loners and Leaders. Laggards are defensive, “win/lose” people who are dependent upon others to make them feel good and feel safe. Loners are dutiful, “win” people who don’t work well with others. Leaders are collaborative, “win/win” people who foster trust and synergy, therefore allowing others to step outside of their comfort zones in order to contribute.
The greatest problem human beings will ever have when attempting to work together as a team is dealing with their own emotions and the emotions of those around them. Unfortunately, many ambitious, driven people with big visions of the future aren’t Leaders; they are actually Laggards or Loners with insecurities attempting to be Leaders.
When asked, they’ll say that it’s important that emotions be eliminated from decision-making. While this is a noble thought, the human brain will simply not allow for it. Interestingly, the decision to eliminate emotions from decision-making is actually an emotional decision. When downplaying emotions, Laggards and Loners are actually attempting to mask their fears, therefore provoking the fear in others.
Let’s consider two important areas of the brain: the limbic brain, sometimes called the emotional brain, and the neocortex. The limbic brain is where our emotions reside, where memory begins and where these two functions combine together to mark behaviors with positive or negative feelings. It’s where unconscious decisions are made. Information going through the limbic brain is filed under “agreeable” or “disagreeable.” It also plays a role in spontaneity and creativity. Located in the limbic brain is the amygdala, which stores and classifies emotionally charged memories and plays a large role in producing our emotions, especially fear. It’s been found to trigger responses to strong emotion by releasing stress hormones that cause sweaty palms, chills, and an increased heart rate.
The neocortex is the rational brain. It occupies approximately two-thirds of the human brain. Although higher-level mammals such as primates and dolphins also have a neocortex, the human neocortex is much larger. This part of the brain is credited with the development of language, abstract thought, consciousness and imagination.
Emotional intelligence is the ability Leaders have to recognize the emotions in themselves and others. When they differentiate between different feelings and label them appropriately, they use emotional intelligence to guide thinking and behavior.
If you would like your team to step outside of their comfort zones and contribute, you must become a Leader. In order to do that, I recommend becoming a student of these five competencies of emotional intelligence:
- Personal Awareness – Gain a clear understanding of your influence on others.
- Integrity – Make sure your intentions always match your actions.
- Internal Motivation – Always do the right thing for the right reasons.
- Empathy – Focus on understanding the feelings of others.
- Social Skills – Consistently build positive relationships.
When combined and measured, one’s EQ (emotional quotient) is determined. EQ scores one’s overall ability to recognize emotions within themselves and in others in order to discern specific feelings and label them appropriately in order to direct thinking and behavior.
Becoming a Leader
Becoming a Leader is an ongoing journey that requires perseverance in order to increase your EQ. Each moment of your life provides an opportunity to take the lead and strive toward victory. Take advantage of these opportunities by expanding your vision of the future, stretching out to accomplish your goals and taking responsibility for your actions.
Founder of RedRock Leadership