Emotional Agility in Sales explores how to experience emotions and react appropriately in your SaaS revenue org. We experience thousands of emotions daily. Consciously or unconsciously, our reactions range depending on the evaluation of a situation. Unfiltered emotions are discouraged in the workplace and are especially discouraged among leaders. In fact, emotional suppression and composure are considered desirable traits for leaders. But both of these traits are easy to spot and decrease transparency. Where is the balance? How can sales leaders be emotionally agile? Are there exercises for leaders to be more agile? DS explores.
All healthy human beings have an inner stream of thoughts and feelings that include criticism, doubt, and fear. That’s just our minds doing the job they were designed to do: trying to anticipate and solve problems and avoid potential pitfalls. –HBR
Doubt by Design
If you are a sales leader, the above excerpt might make you uncomfortable. Showing doubt and inner criticism makes us vulnerable and “good leaders” do not show weakness or vulnerability, was the old way of thinking. We are increasingly seeing that leaders that express doubt, ask for reassurance, and seek counsel are not weak. Vulnerability is not weakness. Seeking counsel and support is a strategy. Acting on the information you gather, that is where you can see how good a leader is. But what about reactions?
Taking action based on information gathered in response to doubts or concerns is indicative of good leadership, whereas reactions arise from the lack of expression of emotions. Think about it this way, when we suppress a feeling of indecision about a course of action, and our fears are confirmed in events related to the course of action, we may overreact. This overreaction likely makes an outcome worse. The chances of the inner critic voice becoming stronger are high and the guilt from the overaction are avoidable consequences.
Another consequence of suppressing emotions that is super popular to discuss in sales and the workplace is imposter syndrome. Imposter Syndrome distances you from your team and the more you suppress or make based in the fear of someone finding out your doubts, the worse decisions that you make. To avoid these pitfalls of doubt, while not looking incapable, you need to be emotionally agile.
How to be Agile
How to be emotionally agile? This excerpt, again from HBR, has a good how to for emotional agility in effective leaders; Effective leaders don’t buy into or try to suppress their inner experiences. Instead they approach them in a mindful, values-driven, and productive way—developing what we call emotional agility. So if you are not suppressing inner experience, you express it in ways that are healthy for the good of the team.
Expressing doubts or fears as leaders is healthy. How you express them is what separates really experienced and progressive leaders from novice and ineffective. If you have a doubt regarding a product or process, bring the team together, discuss it in a forum. Be vulnerable, get answers and act on input. People don’t lose respect for someone who is honest and questions the status quo, and everyone likes to know that their opinion counts.
Emotional Agility in Sales Exercises
Harvard Business Review suggests that leaders who internalize and suffer should undergo Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to become more emotionally agile, but we offer Emotional Agility Exercises for leaders in team environments. Basically, this is communicating in open forums, without hierarchy or consequence. You can pay thousands of dollars on corporate retreats to accomplish the same thing as we do here at Demo Solutions. The goals of Emotional Agility exercises are to be more comfortable as leaders and also as teams with being vulnerable with each other. This sounds nearly impossible to do, especially when the culture has revolved around the commodification of people and how much one person makes or goals hit etc. But it can be done.