Spectrum of Emotions

One of the contradictions of behavior is that the attributes that are your strengths, when taken to an extreme, become your weaknesses. Think of performance as running across a spectrum, rather than statically.

For example, a leader who is passionate about client service may be perceived by the team as unreasonable based on its perception of her unreasonably high expectations.

This occurs in particular with top performers. Their high standards will permeate their expectations. Continuing with the same example, passion can morph to over-zealousness. Enthusiasm will rally the team; extreme or intense emotion may frustrate, unnerve, or demoralize your people.

Another example: some people who have exceptionally high standards for themselves can be perceived as “out of control” when it comes to their expectations of others.

You get the point. No one wants you to curb your passion; instead, if you see yourself going a little overboard, pull it back before it turns into an obsession. You will be doing a big favor to your co-workers and employees!

If your self-awareness isn’t strong enough to identify these gradations, ask someone who knows you well to give you a signal if you’re about to go overboard. Do this with no judgment or conversation – just a trigger to make sure you see it when it’s happening. Over time, you won’t need someone to help you self-monitor.

I once had an executive client who was enormously frustrated by the feedback from his team about his client service fervor. They never thought they were doing a good enough job. When I introduced him to the concept of spectrum of emotions, immediately everything changed. He got it and became a much more effective leader as a result.

Have a great day!


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