Why should leaders care for their emotional wounds too?

 

The leadership meeting – Even before it starts, the air is tense. A new and essential project went in production and was stopped on the second day. The CEO asks: “Can anyone please explain what happened?” His voice is cold and harsh, and the question “Who is to blame?“ is in the air.

All eyes are focused on the production manager. He feels that he has landed on the hot seat and hesitates to explain that the problem is in technology. The head of technology leans forward, his face becomes red, eyes wide open and he waits for his moment to say something in his defense. He does not establish eye contact with the production manager not even for a second, and you can feel that the battle between them on “Who is better, and who is right?” is going to be on fire also in these case. In the “dog eats dog” style, the discussion continues.

The rational and emotional part of the business

A debate that has very obviously two levels. The rational and emotional part. The rational part is about what are the facts, the options, and decisions. The emotional part is about how we perceive the problem in the first place, what the relationships between them are, how they perceive what is being said to them and by whom. More than obviously, the relative and emotional part can create a climate that blurs facts and makes it difficult to rationally examine them, find the right causes, and find a creative solution. Emotions are the elephant in the room.

Many times people introduce me as the one that deals with “the soft things.“ My perspective is that “soft things“ are actually “hard facts“ that has an enormous impact on bottom line results. The energy that the CEO puts into the first question defines the frame of discussion. The unresolved issues from the past that put the agenda ”Am I good enough? Am I right“ in front of the real problem we are facing influences that most of the energy goes into self-protection instead of problem-solving. The “love“ between team-members defines how well they will examine the facts and find or not possible root-cause and how quick or slow they will implement new strategies that will solve the problem and bring quality products for the customer.

Leaders are human first

That is the rational reason why we need to face the truth. Time to acknowledge that leaders are not superheroes. And frankly, we don’t even need them to be or act like them. They are human first. And every human being on this earth has emotional wounds from the past. Wounds are most often connected with the experiences that led us to believe we are not safe, not having enough, not being loved or not being good enough. These wounds make us human. However, they also shape our unconscious and limiting patterns of beliefs, feelings, and behaviours.

Emotional suffering is manifested in many shapes and forms. Depression is only one of them. We often overlook that being rational and cold and having a closed heart is just another face of the same emotional wound behind. Also, working long hours and neglecting our basic needs is a form of self-harm that is fueled by the deeply emotional experience of not being good enough.

The saying of Jung, “One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious, “can help us understand that positive psychology and morning affirmations will not help us on long-term.

Finding your emotional wounds impacts your life & business success

Facing our story and our wounds are mandatory and require some courage. Some people face the darkness out of inspiration to live an authentic life that has deep roots in their values and desires. Others get motivation in pains and symptoms they have developed to teach them they need to stop looking for a quick fix and partial solutions but rather dive deep into themselves, understand root causes of their suffering, connect with their true selves and embark on a journey of expressing it in all the different areas of their lives. However, many still think this is all just “more emotional crap”.

Middle-age crises are just like adolescence – a development stage in which we are supposed to face and overcome our inner fears, unlearn some programs and patterns we have developed in our early childhood, and start to build our lives from our core values and passions.

Jung has put that in an elegant statement: “We can not live the afternoon of life according to the program of life’s morning; for what in the morning was true will in evening become a lie.“

Going through Transformation, people often struggle to clean out and eliminate all negative aspects of their past. But the real liberation comes from first embracing our history and wounds and our imperfections. Loving and accepting us fully and completely, with talents and dark sides. Jung said: “We cannot change anything until we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate; it oppresses.“

We always have the choice

Accepting does not mean not doing anything about it. It just means forgiving, surrendering and letting go and acknowledging we are an only human being trying to do the best we can and allowing us to have our learning process on the way to live our true self. This path is not linear and straightforward. It is challenging and with lots of side paths and setbacks as well as new findings, which are all part of our human experience.

The only thing that counts is the understanding we have a choice to stay stuck in darkness or to unlock our potential and live what Jung nicely wrote in ”I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.”

With this attitude, we can build self-awareness and create a life, a leadership style, and collaborative connections that are rooted in our true values and conscious decisions. Because in business and for all leaders, the following Jung quote is true: “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life, and you will call it fate.”

 

Love, Marjana

At PeopleFirstCulture we inspire Leaders to grow themselves from inside-out and become highly conscious Leader.

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