Here’s Why I Don’t Think You Should — and What You Can Do Instead

Emotions are like mercury. Stuff them in one place and they usually come out in another: often with a greater volume and velocity than the situation warrants.

Lately, I’ve encountered lots of books and articles that say leaders must “manage” their emotions. Of course there’s some common sense in this — but there’s also some danger.

As a recovering expert on controlling my feelings, I suggest a different approach.

One of our most important jobs as leaders is to create a safe place for people to work. We’re talking safe for their psyches as well as their bodies.

This can only happen when everyone knows that it’s OK to say how they really see or feel about something. And they won’t know that’s possible until we show them by doing it first and consistently.

After all, everyone already has a pretty good idea how you feel. That’s because even the best of us (and I was pretty good) let this leak out in our expressions, words and deeds. So you may as well be upfront about it.

Mercury is one of the most corrosive elements there is. Don’t let it burn you and your people.