Dynamics of emotions for leaders


Every force creates a counter-force in the universe. This theory also applies for human emotions. For example when someone possesses “excessive ambition” for something the counter-emotion is “synthetic fear“: thinking about the possibility of not able to get what is desired. Fear is  dangerous  when it is not in its natural form. On the other hand “natural fear” is extremely vital; for example when you a see a lion you should run 🙂 Synthetic fear arises from negative thinking whereas natural fear arises spontaneously without thinking.

When someone faces with “synthetic fear” the following behaviors are commonly observed:

  • Freeze or inertia because of indecisiveness,
  • Either avoid risk (because person does not want to lose) or  take extreme risk (to get what is desired),
  • Focusing on details not being able to see the whole picture,
  • Unable to think properly.

Other other hand; if the emotion is not extreme (someone desires something but is not obssessed with it) then the counter-emotion is also properly balanced. The following behaviors are observed:

  • Action,
  • Taking proper risks,
  • Able to focus on details without disconnecting n from the whole picture,
  • Thinking wisely.

Positive thinking negates synthetic fear whereas negative thinking ascends synthetic fear because it creates thoughts which serve as justifications for fear. Ironically most of those thoughts are so probable that  it seems rational and logical. Negative thoughts prove to be right when they are depended upon because of “Pygmalion effect” or in other words “self-fulfilling prophecy.

Uncertainty means there are lots of possibilities which are not yet happened. Uncertainty itself creates synthetic fear. Leaders who are in the role of mostly encountering uncertainty should keep calm and hold on positive thinking so that synthetic fear does not surround people following the leader.

There is a subtle difference between

  • “being realistic” vs. “daydreamer”,
  • “being indifferent to events because of too much optimism” vs. “thinking positively”,
  • “being naive” vs. “thinking positively”.

This means the counter-intuitive behaviour of too much optimism is also harmful. Thus, leaders should learn to control their emotions. They do not have the choice to overly react to events.

Moral of the story : Leaders should control and keep their emotions in a narrow band; mostly in the positive side but sometimes need to delve into the negative area as well.

Here is the dynamics:


About ozgurzan

Professional: 1999- Co-founder and Managing Director of Done Information & Comm. Systems http://www.donetr.com http://www.donelabs.com Academic: 2008 Ph.D. Organization and Management - Yeditepe University 2002 MBA - Yeditepe University 1994 Computer Engineering - Bogazici University
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