The ONE skill that separates FUTURE leaders from others!

A manager recently told me:

”My job is to deliver RESULTS. That’s what is expected of me. When I go to meet my bosses, they ask me about the results only. That’s it. They’re really not interested in anything else. So, I focus on increasing our profits and efficiency. It’s not really on my agenda to think about how people feel. Sure, I don’t want people to feel bad and I hope they like working here. But I really have no time or energy to start taking care of their emotions. It’s not my job. I’m not an expert on such topics. I’m a business leader. I expect my employees to manage themselves and to do their jobs.”

This type of thinking is very common among managers. It’s understandable. After all, this is what they are trained to do. To manage a business. To manage strategies, processes, and finances. Their job is to get results. That’s what they are ultimately accountable for.

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It’s been estimated that leadership team behaviors explain 50-70% of the organizational climate.

And why does it matter? Because the emotional climate is crucial for business success. The emotions experienced in the workplaces have a huge impact on people’s decisions, motivation, social interactions – and eventually the business results. Those companies with higher employee satisfaction outperform their peers by 2,3% to 3,8% per year in long-run stock return. In a study of 62 management teams, those companies whose leadership team had a positive climate were more successful financially.


But how is the everyday leadership teamwork in corporations? After all, working in a leadership team should be inspiring. Is there a better place to see the big picture, make a real impact, work with true professionals, and develop as a leader?

Yet I see many leadership teams struggle with the same motivational problems as the rest of the teams. To be honest, many leadership team meetings are FRUSTRATING.

There are internal struggles. Personal chemistry problems. Too much focus on details and non-strategic issues. Lack of energy and inspiration. Not enough talk about vision, strategy, and the future. The meetings get BORING – just another burden on a leader’s overloaded to-do list. Just another waste of time that drains your energy.

This is really frustrating for many leadership team members. Because at that level people ENJOY being challenged. They WANT to look at the big picture, take responsibility, and get results.


The missing ingredient?

Many leadership team development projects focus on creating a common vision, purpose, structure, ground rules, priorities, efficient meeting practices etc. The list goes on.

And sure, they are often helpful. But none of them guarantee a high performing leadership team.

It’s very possible that you have all the basics in place, and still the leadership team is not reaching high levels of inspiration and performance. Because there is one crucial aspect that is often forgotten in leadership teams.

It is actually very much possible that a leadership team has none of those basics in place, yet it is highly inspiring to work in the team. There are lively, meaningful discussions, collective responsibility, and high accountability – despite the lack of structure.

So what is the missing ingredient?

It’s the emotional climate of the team. Even the best strategy and vision or the clearest priorities and rules do NOT guarantee success if the climate of the team is bad. Because emotions are the fuel for human performance.

When the emotional climate of the leadership team is good, then there’s energy and commitment. There’s trust and psychological safety.

Let me make this very clear. We all understand that what happens around us has an impact on the emotions we experience. For example, if there’s too much work to be done and not enough resources (e.g. time) to do it, then anxiety arises.

But what we often don’t understand is the fact that emotions are also A CAUSE to our situation. Because emotions have a huge impact on the way our minds work.

For example, when anxious, our perceptions get distorted and our mind is focused on threats, random details and ruminating. If you’re sitting in a meeting where everyone is anxious, you’re not likely to be very innovative. How do you create an inspiring, out-of-the-box vision if your mind is stuck in details?

Then again, research shows that when you’re feeling positive emotions, like joy, pride and enthusiasm, your mind is much better at seeing the big picture, playing around with ideas, connecting the dots. A leadership team with better emotions is much more likely to see the big picture, come up with new ideas, and deliver better results.


So how do you build the emotional climate in a leadership team?

I recommend starting with getting the basics in place. Many times increased clarity on the common vision, priorities, targets etc already relieves frustration and builds motivation. But that’s not enough.

Once the basics are in place, here are four steps to get started with building the emotional climate:


1. Build momentum by clarifying the significance of being a member of the leadership team. I often start with something like this:

“There are probably tens of people in your company that would LIKE to be a member of this leadership team. But of all people, YOU have been selected to be in the team. So people are looking at you as individuals and as a team. How do you behave? How do your faces look like when you come out of team meetings? How do you FEEL about being a member of this team? And what kind of an image of this team do you want to give your people – are you a bunch of uninspired individuals or are you a competent team who enjoys working together? People are sensitive in detecting your emotions. What kind of an emotional climate do they perceive when they’re looking at you? Your behaviors have a HUGE impact on the organizational climate.”

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Feeling confused at your work? This is why confusion is GOOD for you!

You know what I’m talking about, don’t you?

Picture yourself at the monthly sales meeting. The conference room is filled to the brim with your bosses and coworkers. James is talking, one of the department managers. Soon it’s your turn. You feel a bit uneasy, but you know you are prepared. In fact, you feel confident and you’re expecting some praise. It’s your turn. You go over your numbers and forecasts. Silence. Then three horrible words come from the CEO’s mouth:

“I completely disagree.”

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5 tips to AWAKEN joy after the holiday!

So it’s time to get back to work. For many people, it’s a time of internal struggle: ”Oh no, now I have to start being effective and disciplined again. Early mornings… Tight schedules… Heavy responsibilities… Power struggles… Consuming relationships… Bureaucracy… How on earth do I find ANY joy in this? How do I find my work motivation again?”

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Do you want to have the best holiday EVER? Then do this ONE thing!

Oh boy… Holiday time. For many people, this is the best moment of the year. You get to let go of your work and focus on the things you enjoy the most. Maybe you indulge in your favorite activities and hobbies. You go sailing, hiking, golfing… Or maybe retreat to your home or summer cabin, enjoying the fact that you don’t have to go anywhere. You just enjoy being idle.

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When you feel OVERWHELMED, this is what you need the MOST

Work (and life) can be overwhelming. Too many things to do, constant distractions, and even if you work like crazy, stuff just keeps getting added to your to do list. And it feels like there’s no way out.


At times like this, you need to understand that your emotions are part of the problem. You can’t see solutions to your situation because your emotions – anxiety and stress – are preventing your mind from working properly (I’ve explained this in more detail in my free e-book).

One way to clear your mind and get unstuck is to have someone to talk to. Someone who really listens to you, asks you good questions and makes you think. Good questions and a listening ear is a valuable resource in life that many of us seem to be lacking.


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Are you leading zombies? Then check this, now!

One major challenge in work life is that it tends to be inherently empty. I mean, too many employees, working in a standard corporation is lacking a deeper purpose. The employees are not feeling fulfilled. They are simply not engaged.

The statistics speak for themselves:

  • 51% of the workforce in U.S. are not engaged
  • Only 16% say they feel “connected and engaged”
  • Disengaged workers cause massive losses in productivity – between $450 and $500 billion a year


The corporate missions often talk about “delivering high quality”“adding customer value”“being no 1 in…” and “bla bla bla”. Maybe these statements inspire some people, but for the regular employee, they tend to give absolutely NOTHING. As Frederic Laloux, the author of Reinventing organizations, said in an interview:

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Is it ok to show emotions at work?

“Can I show my emotions at work?” This is a question I get asked often.

This is actually a very interesting question. But I also think it’s a wrong one. I’ll share a much better question later.

Let’s first dig into this question a bit deeper and look at it from four perspectives:

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How to bring an emotionally dead corporation back to life

Watch the TEDx talk 2016 on workplace emotions here:

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First steps for understanding emotions at work

When I started working after graduating as a young psychologist, I was full of excitement. How fascinating it was to really enter the world of grown-ups and give my input to the world! As I was invited to team meetings, I was thrilled. We would be discussing important stuff and making important decisions. But quite soon I started to realize something strange.

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