Lisa McLeod is one of the world’s leading experts on sales, leadership and emotional engagement. She introduced the concept of “Noble Purpose” in business, which has proven that having a purpose beyond making money leads to sustainable success.
We had the opportunity to talk to Lisa about emotional intelligence and how she sees the role of emotions in business.
getAbstract: Lisa, if we could measure emotion quantitatively, how much of it do you think we should show at work?
Lisa McLeod: We tend to say we shouldn’t get emotional at work. That’s total bunk. What organization doesn’t want passionate, enthusiastic employees? In terms of how to measure emotion, we need to embrace the full spectrum of human experience. A company on autopilot with no emotion, it would be completely boring to the market and have no differentiation.
Rather than asking “how much,” I’d say that the question is more “what type” of emotions do you want to incite? How do you want your team and your customers to experience your organization? Do you want to incite joy or excitement? Name and claim what you want people to experience and start measuring that.
getAbstract: Speaking of types of emotions, are there good and bad emotions at work?
Lisa McLeod: If someone is emotionally engaged in their job or their business, expect the full range of emotion. Happiness, sadness, fear, anger, elation, all of it. And there’s a place for all of it in the life cycle of a business. The key is to express them appropriately, and to show empathy for our peers.
The things we need to look out for are things like contempt and indifference. Those are the emotions that show someone is not engaged, that they’re disconnected, or even resentful.
getAbstract: It would probably be easier for employees to embrace their emotions at work if leaders set the example, but they’re often afraid to get emotional. Why do you think that is?
Lisa McLeod: Leaders are afraid to get emotional at work for the same reason people are afraid to get emotional outside of work. It shows vulnerability.
If the business fails, or you mess up, or someone hurts your feelings, people might actually know how much you care. But that’s silly, because what research has shown us is that leaders who are transparent about their emotions, to a degree, attract and retain better talent, and they run more successful businesses.
That doesn’t mean you have to leak out every thought or feeling that crosses your mind. But don’t stifle your humanity. And remember, employees take their cue from the leader. If the leader is afraid to get emotional, that sets the tone.
getAbstract: It probably also sets the tone for customers, right?
Lisa McLeod: Absolutely. We want our customers to care passionately about us, we want our employees to care passionately about us, but too often leaders are told to not get emotional. I come back to the Maya Angelou quote, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” The same goes for work.
If you want your team and your customers to care, you have to show them that you care passionately, too. If not, both customer and employee relationships become transactional, completely dependent on the lowest price.
Value is an emotional experience.
About Lisa McLeod
Lisa is one of the foremost authorities on sales, leadership and emotional engagement. Here best selling book, Selling with Noble Purpose introduced the idea of Noble Purpose in business. Her research has documented how organizations with a purpose bigger than money actually make more money, and they experience greater customer and employee retention.
Lisa is a former Procter & Gamble Sales trainer, she now runs her own consulting firm, McLeod & More, Inc. Her firm’s clients include Hootsuite, Roche, Volvo, and Dave & Busters. Lisa is also a prolific writer; she is the author of 5 books and thousands of articles. She is the sales leadership expert for Forbes.com and has appeared on the Today show and the NBC Nightly News.
Her newest book, Leading with Noble Purpose: How to Create a Tribe of True Believers has been called a breakthrough book that is transforming the way leadership it conducted at every level of organizations.