Display emotions like cheerfulness, calmness and pride, and you’ll be seen as an effective leader. Show emotions like anger, fear and remorse, and you’ll be seen as an ineffective leader.
Those are the conclusions from researchers at the University of California-Riverside and Drexel University. In addition, they found that when women don’t express negative emotions, the are seen as even more effective leaders than men.
Emotions of a Leader
The study looked at what is called implicit theories of leadership. The respondents in the study’s survey broken down what types of emotions leaders feel and express. They associated cheerfulness, calmness and pride with an effective leader. On the opposite end, they associated anger, fear and remorse with an ineffective leader.
Interestingly, the researchers found women, when they don’t show negative emotions, were judged to be more effective leaders than men. The researchers think this may have to do with men having more leeway for expressing negative emotions.
Another conclusion is that high-ranking leaders were not penalized as much as lower-ranking leaders when they express negative emotions. Anger, for example, when expressed in a lower-ranking leader, led to a negative impression of that leader in terms of effectiveness.
Avoid Negative Emotions
How can you apply these findings? Whether you are in a leadership position, or if you want to project being a good leader in any situations, try to avoid showing negative emotions. Expressing positive emotions like cheerfulness, calmness and pride can lead people to perceive you as an effective leader.
This study was published in the Journal of Organizational Behavior.
TAKE-HOME MESSAGE: To be an effective leader, display positive emotions like cheerfulness, calmness and pride. If you’re a woman, not showing negative emotions can make you be seen as even a more effective leader than men.
Journal source: Journal of Organizational Behavior
The emotional leader: Implicit theories of leadership emotions and leadership perceptions