How to Be Your Best In an Emotionally Demanding Role 

I think most of us in leadership can relate to the experience of emotionally demands in the workplace. It may be more closely tied with some roles than others, but it’s common in every field among leaders and others who give themselves fully to the work they do.

But it doesn’t come easily. An emotionally demanding role can leave you feeling physically and mentally drained. Work may become less satisfying and you may have problems focusing or thinking creatively—which in turn can lead to irritability, frustration and even depression.

There are things you can do to help yourself—for your own well-being, and so you and your team can keep bringing your best every day. Here are some of the top techniques I discuss with the leaders I coach:

Identify your strengths. Emotional demands can tax your confidence and self-esteem, so it’s important to know your strengths and build on them. When you make the best use of your inner resources, you gain power that will bring you through low times and difficult situations.

Leverage your weaknesses. We all naturally prefer to concentrate on our strengths instead of our weaknesses. But—as you already know if you’ve read The Leadership Gap—I’m a big believer in learning to leverage your own weaknesses. As you go through challenging times, your strength will come not only from what you are strong in but also from the things you struggle with, from overcoming the things you thought you couldn’t do.

Practice radical honesty. Studies have found that you can alleviate stress and emotional burnout by creating a climate of radically honesty—in short, being as honest and authentic as you can be. When people feel free to be themselves and to communicate their emotions, both positive and negative, workplace tension is reduced.

Work on conflict resolution. In conflict, don’t let the little things divide you when agreement on the big things can bind you. Escalate or evaluate until you come to a resolution. Being stuck is among the worst things that can happen when you have a lot going on and you’re trying to be productive.

Know your role. Think about whether in your current situation you’re acting as a teacher, a student, or a peer, and whether you should be teaching, asking questions, or debating. Knowing your specific role is especially important in times of high emotional demands, allowing you to bring people together in a shared spirit of humility and open-mindedness.

Use your empathy. When your environment and culture are demanding, empathy is especially important. It isn’t always easy to show empathy, especially when situations are challenging or taxing. But seeing through the eyes of another and working to truly understand how they feel will help you connect on a deeper level and cultivate a more meaningful relationship.

Learn from your mistakes. Great leaders are big enough to admit their mistakes, smart enough to profit from them and strong enough to correct them. We all make mistakes—we all have struggles and challenges and even some regrets. You are not your mistakes, and you are not your struggles. Instead of letting mistakes bring you down, use them to take full ownership of your potential.

Connect with your purpose. Purpose is incredibly important, not just to leaders but to team members at every level. When work becomes emotionally charged it can be harder to find that purpose or understand the meaning. Doing so may require that you shift your thinking and challenge any entrenched mindsets—individually and as a group—so you can identify how your work makes an impact on others, on the community, on society, and in the world.

Leading through emotionally demands is often difficult, but the process can help you guide yourself and your team toward new ways to give your best selves in service.

Lead from within: As a leader, the meaning of your life is to find your gift and the purpose of your life is to share it with others, challenging or not. Too many people have the means to live, but little meaning to live for.

N A T I O N A L   B E S T S E L L E R


What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images

Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR,, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

  1. Pramila

    08. Mar, 2018

    Love your writings. Very Inspirational.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Emma O. Akpasubi

    23. Aug, 2018

    Detailed enough to help understanding the subject matter. Thanks.

    Reply to this comment

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