“Leadership isn’t something you do writing memos; you’ve got to appeal to people’s emotions. They’ve got to buy in with their hearts and bellies, not just their minds.” – Lou Gerstner, IBM’s former CEO
What is critical to business success? Emotions are critical because they drive behaviors. When you achieve an emotional buy-in from consumers and employees you have a competitive advantage in a world of increasing commoditization.
Traditionally, business ignore emotions in favor of rationality. Leaders disregard feelings as messy, dangerous, inferior and even irrelevant to day-to-day operations. In marketing and in managing, the emphasis has been on appealing to the rationality of people.
According to a growing body of scientific evidence, subconscious feelings drive decisions, up to 95% of which are made through the brain’s emotion centers and only then filtered into its cognitive parts. Psychologists, neuroscientists and behavioral economists now agree that leaders who fail to understand how emotions drive actions will ultimately fail.
Emotionally astute leaders leverage feelings to gain employee commitment, engagement and performance, according to Dan Hill, CEO of Sensory Logic and author of Emotionomics: Leveraging Emotions for Business Success (Kogan Page, 2008). The link between satisfaction and productivity, was confirmed by experts featured in a Time magazine cover story (January 17, 2005) who cited a 10 percent improvement in job performance among fulfilled employees.
In their book, Primal Leadership (2002) Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee reviewed case studies that reflect a company’s emotional climate may account for up to 30 percent of job performance.
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