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Should leaders show emotions?

Modern world and especially workplace has remained not so formal as compared to former generations. We’re witnessing, adapting and adjusting ourselves with new ‘styles’ of leadership. We observe political, corporate and social leaders involving with sub-ordinates more and more than only discussing about serious stuff with others or their superiors.

However, core requisites for being a good, result oriented and accepted (being accepted by followers is very crucial) leader haven’t changed much since hundreds, thousands and perhaps millions of years.
A good leader should be master of its own emotional expressions.
First of all, any leader shouldn’t assume himself/herself as superhuman entity or alien being altogether. Like any other human being, a leader has emotions and ways to express them. Showing and expressing emotions verbally, nonverbally and para linguistically should be used mostly to make followers and sub-ordinates aware of true potentials they have and different areas they could improve.

Throwing speech in an upbeat and firm tone of voice is what good leader can do to motivate its followers and sub-ordinates. We see this in movies - a knight provoking its soldiers to fight with enemy when their morale is down.
Each emotion has a purpose.
Every emotion serves a unique survival and socialization purpose. Throughout million years of our evolutionary history, we've learned and got in heredity the ability and skill to express, read emotions and also control their expressions on purpose i.e. voluntarily manipulation of emotional expressions. A good leader has to have all these skills.

Although most part of emotional expression is entirely unconscious, degree and validity of every expression is entirely contextual - kind of situation, cultural & gender norms, people involved into it, necessity of own (of a leader) involvement and severity & scale of potential outcome of any emotional expression. Context has greater importance when we try to necessitate and also validate an expression of any emotion.

A leader should be motivator.
A leader should be more skilled and also quick (as compared to its followers, sub-ordinates or team members) in picking emotional clues and react to them appropriately - more specifically in constructive manner. If a leader wants to express emotions then he/she should be well aware of contextual factors (as mentioned above) before expressing any emotion.

Sometimes, not expressing emotion at the moment it induces in subconscious mind and conveying a message to sub-ordinates or team members at any other time through a different channel (verbal or nonverbal) could be wise decision. A leader has to gain the mastery in reacting appropriately and reasonably to something in the first place.

If a leader wants to restrain from expressing emotions on face, it can act upon them constructively. Facial emblems, vocal tones, postures, body positions, body movements and hand gestures can be used more effectively to convey emotional message to people.

A leader should express its emotions but should keep their expressions in check as much as possible so that they don’t create mess. Yelling, shouting, grunting and taking out frustration is not expected at workplaces or in public. Negative emotions shouldn't be expressed openly.

[This article is my comment under a question "Should a leader show emotion?" posted by Stephen Manallack (Australia), Consultant in Communication and author of "Soft Skills for a Flat World" book in a Indian Leadership Network group on LinkedIn.]

Related Articles:
1) Basic Emotional Expressions 2) Recognizing emotional expressions: Scientific viewpoints  3) Emotional Intelligence and Success

Good posture is Healthy

You can conduct seemingly easy experiment on your own after reading this article. Fill a glass with water (on any other liquid) and hold it in one of your hands. You can choose any other (light or moderate weighted) object too for this experiment.
 
You might be thinking that what this fellow is asking me to do is what you do routinely - holding a glass, cup, mug or bottle in hand to drink water, tea, coffee or other beverages.

You might be holding or handling these kinds of containers for less than 2 or 3 minutes on average at a single instance. What’s so different with this so-called experiment then? Specifications of this seemingly ordinary experiment are not over yet. Please stay with me.

I’m asking you to hold any object by stretching you hand straight and keeping it away from your body. You have to keep your hand steady and not let it bend at elbow. Obviously, you shouldn’t take support of anything and also take breaks
at all. To arrive at a conclusion of the experiment, you should hold the object until you start feeling trembling, pains and tingling sensation in muscles of your hand.

Why supposedly strong muscles, which have been sophisticatedly designed to lift heavy load than that of one you’ve hold in your hand, started to ache after few minutes only? Answer to this question, which you would know after going through rest of this article, is definitely eye-opening.

Ancestors used to walk on four feet (limbs).
Before evolving into tree dwelling apes, our remote ancestors used to roam on four limbs. As we can easily observe, vertebral column i.e. backbone or spine of all four legged animals remains horizontal. Standing and walking on four legs (i. e. quadrupedal anatomy) offers them more flexibility, good balancing ability and capacity to attain more speed while running.

That’s the very reason why the fastest animal on earth is cheetah and not us. Also, almost all quadrupedal (four-legged) creatures can achieve balance and walk on their feet within just few minutes or hours after taking birth.

"Human body is more vulnerable due to its bipedal anatomy. We can easily adapt a defensive posture in danger."

On the other hand, we have a unique ability to stand and walk on two hind limbs or legs (i. e. bipedal anatomy) that we feel very proud about. Moreover, it's only the bipedal anatomy which developed broader shoulders in men and wider hips in women.
 
This kind of anatomy allowed us to lift different things by forelimbs or hands, carry them, climb flexibly, observe much clearly over a large distance with wider visual angle and move from one location to other by spending less amount of energy.
 
Probably you might knew that our spine is made of interconnected bony segments which are stacked upon each other and called as vertebrae. Also, our spine has four different sections and curves which are Cervical, Thoracic, Lumbar and Sacral.
Spinal sections and curves
While standing, taking rest, walking or running on four legs; quadrupedal creatures hardly have to pay conscious attention at their body posture and natural curves of their spines. Watch carefully at your dog or cat when it seats, stands or runs.

Only in the condition of not having enough energy and essential body parts unfit or in a bad shape (infested, deformed, amputated or wounded), bad body posture could negatively affect speed of roaming, ability to perform different tasks and their natural spinal curves.

We too are not exception to this but I believe that only we humans suffer from spine related pains, deformities and decay by most. Unlike four legged creatures, we need to maintain accurate balance along with keeping upper body erect to carry our different kinds of static and dynamic tasks.

To be able to adjust ourselves with various operational demands, we eventually alter spinal curves, distance between two vertebrae and pressure on the whole vertebral column. We twist, jerk, pull or burden it instantaneously, momentarily or over a considerable amount of time.

"Pat your back on your own frequently because it reduces issue of frozen shoulders. Simple idea but great effect!"

As many anatomists would agree, the lower section of our back is not much perfectly designed (or not ‘evolved’ correctly through millions of years). When it comes to perform activities by adapting an erect posture, this very design defect speaks (and also ‘hurts’) very loudly. Perhaps, only human babies need to learn and also practice to walk on two feet.

Ability to stand and walk with the perfectly erect or upright posture comes only after few years after a baby's birth. We insist on good posture because it’s an inevitable part of influence and impression in society but we hardly relate it with health.

Vertebral column or spine is a bridge of life force that flows between brain and rest of the body. Vertebrae or one of the bony segments of the spinal column that rests on other vertebrae with soft disk or cushion in between, is one of the vulnerable and also complex structures.

Spine connects the whole body with the brain and also provides energy and signals to different body parts through spinal cord. Both stagnant life style and exhaustive workout done by adapting wrong postures accelerate the process of spinal decay and deformation.

Like any other moving body part that is made up of blood veins, nerves, bones, tendons (band of inelastic tissue that connects muscles with bones) and muscles; entire spine or backbone is spring like a long metal spring but a little more complex than it.

One question might be raising in your mind - Why we experience inflammation and pains in back, neck or arms only few minutes after applying pressure or strain? Crucial importance of good posture, workout and physical activities won’t make sense properly until we don’t get answer of this big question.

"Musculoskeletal pains and inflammation, if persisted over a long time, can lead to performance degradation and most importantly - deterioration of self-confidence."

Bone, tendon and muscles: All tied up together
Composed by elastic and fibrous tissues, muscles have their own dynamics and chemical processes. Muscles remain fit and also painless when they are moved in regular intervals because only movements ensure supply of blood and oxygen. Lactic acid gets generated as by-product of exercise but it also needs to get washed out through adequate blood circulation.

Holding any body part in a one position or configuration and putting strain on it in repetition causes contraction of muscles and ultimately disturbance in process of circulation of blood, nutrients and oxygen. You might have heard about an athlete suffering from tennis elbow.
 
In absence of nutrition and accumulation of lactic acid, muscles start to ache, tingle and inflame. If muscular pain and strain are not relived within proper time then it badly affects not only muscles but also tendons and nerves. Spinal column is also surrounded by muscles, nerves and tissues. Muscles provide support to it.
Which posture you think is correct one?
"Incorrectly lifted load of 5 kilos puts pressure of 80 kilos on lumbar area i.e. 15 times higher than original weight."
While sitting at one place for a long time in any particular posture, we put pressure on our whole spinal structure and thus kicking off the vicious process of musculoskeletal decay. Upper body weight also adds to the pressure on lower body, which is felt in lower back and abdominal region.

If posture isn’t changed or any body movements are not made to re-establish sufficient blood supply then not just spine but all related body parts get exhausted and start to ache and inflame. Over a considerable amount of time (in months or years), person working  stagnantly starts to feel lack of energy, enthusiasm and lightness from inside.

"Nearly more than 80% of today's youngsters in cities suffer from pains in back, neck, shoulders, arms, wrists, palms and feet. Only reason is stagnation and spending a of time with motorbikes, computers, cell phones and television."


Although we all love luxury and relaxation, it's crucial that our body is moved and not  kept stagnant for a long time. In fact, stagnation deteriorates it much faster as compared to a lifestyle filled with movements and actions. While sitting, walking or doing different tasks; only good body posture ensures spinal health and continuity of liveliness.

Try to remain in a good and upright posture as much as possible because it’s not just healthy but impressive too. Respect your body and pay attention at your posture. Be smart and stay fit, healthy and performing for a long time!
Good and impressive sitting body posture with and without computer
 "Stagnant lifestyle coupled with bad static and dynamic postures make situation worse or nightmarish."

Between year 2008 to 2013, I've gone through worst health and performance conditions. Pains, swelling, inflammation of muscles and tendons in back, neck, shoulders and wrists was about to put me out of action permanently. However, my own excruciating conditions and ordeal has taught me a great lesson in life.

I've successfully recovered from severe pain in back and neck only by adapting a proper posture, changing it frequently and doing rigorous exercise on regular basis. Good posture is a health insurance and a very impressive too. It has changed my life and also how people perceive me socially.

Would you still like to conduct the experiment, mentioned in first two paragraphs? Certainly not I guess. If you want to test that how your muscles and tendons respond to long lasting stagnation, go ahead and try it out carefully. It would end in ailing but I'm sure that you would become more conscious about your body and its dynamics.

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