Let me start with what Emotional Leadership is not

There are many managers and a few leaders. Many of these “just” managers are some sort of overpaid administrators that have a budget for projects and job descriptions for their staff. They make sure that both are within the boundaries and their job is safe.

emotional leadership
There is a distinct difference between managers and leaders

In a project there must be processes in order to add a certain routine to a major change which might affect the entire company. Moreover, they are indispensable to measure if the endeavour is on target. But all projects have ups and downs and more often than not reality is very different from the planning. If the project manager starts looking for someone to blame and is just managing according to plan he can hardly be called a leader, let alone an emotional one.


The difference between a leader and a manager is their attitude. While a “just” manager is always afraid of making mistakes because they could make a bad impression, a leader is fearless.

Please don’t get me wrong. Leaders have fears like everybody else but that’s where the emotional part comes into the game. We have a choice if we want to concentrate on the problems and dangers of which many never materialise but make us even more fearful or if we focus on the solution.

Humans are empathic beings. For this reason fear and enthusiasm are both contagious, and the choice I just mentioned is an important one. It determines if you are managing a gang of dull-looking individuals doing a monotonous job or an inspired team that is prepared to go the extra mile in order to reach the targets.

Change of Direction

Not to concentrate on one’s fear may sound all academic to you since the angst is real and you feel it. Yes, you are right but courage (another emotion) is not the absence of fear but the ability to deal with it. While a manager will simply deny his fears by never leaving his comfort zone a leader will admit this unwelcome feelings and stand up to it by directing his thoughts to the desired solution and therefore find an antidote – typically called a plan, task list or options – for his anxiety. That’s the spirit!

Anxiety makes our thoughts spin in a circle and you will be in no fit state to find a solution but feel like a hamster in its wheel.

But as soon as you start looking at the possible solutions and the desired result you find more options and a real chance to see that you are closer to the goal than you just thought a minute ago.


All companies have hierarchies. Again, it is a question of how to deal with it. While a “just” manager will probably make sure that the difference between the levels is clearly visible – people might detect his imperfections – a real leader never will act like this.

On the contrary: Leaders are more interested in good results than in there hierarchical position. They are aware that goals can much easier be achieved with a team of knowledgeable and motivated individuals. I would call this management style “primus inter pares” which translates to “the first among equals”.

The logical consequence is that leaders like to surround themselves with people who possess a lot of know-how in their field and appreciate diversity. They know that good results reflect on their own reputation and honours the team members at the same time.

Admit it, we all like honour – whatever our definition of it may be – since it means that people like us. Richard Branson recently tweeted: “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to” and the American musician Meat Loaf landed a great hit with the song “I’d Do Anything for Love”.

Yes, indeed!

Author: Brigitte Kobi

Brigitte Kobi is a target-oriented and entrepreneurial-minded Senior Project and Turnaround Manager with a broad experience in Business Development. As well as comprehensive leadership and management skills she also has a keen eye for design perfection.

Brigitte has successfully built and sold her business, and is considered to be an authority on emotional leadership. Her newsletter Leadership & Lipstick” and her blog focus on Leadership, Business Development and Design where she shares her insights and experiences. Both her blog and social media presence have a strong following, and she is often consulted about these topics by various parties.

You can follow Brigitte on Linkedin as she is always open to making new connections. Her thoughts and insights on emotional leadership, business development and design can be read on her blog.

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