Leadership Emotion Radar: 12 Employee Emotional Needs to Honor

Leadership Emotion Radar: Especially for Technical Analytic Leaders!

There are leaders who think that emotions are a detour from success. I see this especially in highly analytic personalities and technical leaders. To them logic is the true path to success. There are other leaders who think emotions are a necessary evil. They think that emotions can coexist with success. Actually …

Leadership Emotion Radar: Image is a grid of lights.

Leadership Emotion Radar: 12 Employee Emotions to Honor Image by Quinn Dumbrowski via Flickr.

Image by Quinn Dumbrowski via Flickr Creative Commons License.

Leadership Emotion Radar: 12 Employee Emotional Needs to Honor

Emotions are a fact of life. All employees need understanding and care. For many, emotions are essential to engaging and committing fully at work. Leaders who discount this leave untapped potential on the table. Leaders who honor emotions and engage that potential create mega success.

  1. The Need to Be Heard — Listening.

    While leaders pulse with the need for results, some employees need them to listen to the challenges they are having. Don’t assume these employees want you to solve the problem. Your listening gives them a support. Don’t jump in and answer questions right away. Show them you care enough to listen.

  2. Empathy in Good Times & Bad.

    Empathy is the connection before the solution. It is the connection to engagement. Don’t keep yourself emotionally distant from your employees. Get excited for their happy events and empathize with their pain. It doesn’t weaken your judgment. It enlightens your understanding of how to engage them for success.

  3. Validation — They Matter.

    Diverse employees working together often feel their identities challenged. It’s easy to work with similar people, tougher to work in diversity. When leaders validate what each employee brings to the team, it engages their full potential. Validation belongs in your leadership emotion radar.

  4. Support — Without Them Asking.

    There are employees who will come to you when they need support. Else they prefer to do it on their own. Others are loath to ask for support because they fear you will see them as needy and weak. Get to know your employees’ preference for support.

  5. Encouragement — It Mentors.

    If you want employees to innovate, change, and grow, you must encourage them. When they want to ditch the conventional and try something different, they want you to encourage them beyond the fear and doubt. Mentor them with your encouragement. Successful leaders have this in their leadership emotion radar.

  6. Devil’s Advocate — Critical View.

    Whether it is regarding their career or an important project, employees sometimes want the benefit of a second opinion. It is actually an emotional support to tap a leader’s experience. Don’t mislabel this as lack of confidence or incompetence. Help them think it through with critical questions.

  7. Knowledge — Necessary Data.

    Some employees don’t want your opinion. They want the knowledge and experience you have accrued so they can form their own opinion. It might seem strange to list this as an emotional need. Yet if the employee is an analytic, logic is often their comfort and logic needs data. Use your leadership emotion radar to sense your employees’ needs.

  8. Insight — The Halfway Point.

    These employees want more than knowledge and less than a solution. A combination of “maybe statements” and questions are the dynamic duo here. Emotionally it allows them to work through the situation on their own with the help of your insight.

  9. Solutions — The Right Way.

    You may be thrilled that we finally have this on the list here. Many leaders want to offer solutions sooner than later. They think it is logical and productive. The sooner the solution, the sooner the success. Unfortunately, to someone not ready for a solution — the “get over it quick” approach seems brutishly insensitive. Be ready to give empathy and validation before you offer a solution.

  10. Strength & Confidence — Especially in Tough Times.

    Strength and confidence reduce fear. It buoys employees and gives them a sense of control. It emboldens them to deal with the challenges. Offer your strength without judging. Judging makes them feel weaker. Your strength makes them feel stronger.

  11. Momentum – Transfer of Energy.

    If you are known as action oriented, employees may come to you to help them move forward. This may be the toughest emotional need to spot. It takes practice to spot how much momentum they want. Are they coming to you for a little boost or a rocket launch? Until you learn how to spot it, ask them. It’s simple and it shares responsibility. Develop your leadership emotion radar by learning about your employees.

  12. Credit — Share the Spotlight.

    Achievement and accomplishments can spur additional contributions and commitment. Employees need to know their work is appreciated. Share the spotlight. Recognize individual talents and how they contribute to the whole. It doesn’t create divas. It ignites contribution.

Of these 12, which one do you most often want? If your answer is “it depends”, then you understand why others have varying needs. If you always want the same thing, remember that not everyone is like you.

If you care enough to develop your leadership emotion radar, you will succeed. Learn from one time to the next how to give your employees the emotional connection and support they need. Leadership emotion radar — aka leadership intuition — feeds employee engagement, innovation, succession planning, and employee development. Well worth your time!

What else would you add to the leadership emotion radar list?

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Posts:
Leaders, Be a Buoy of Inspiration and Balance
18 Things Respect Well-Liked Leaders Consistently Do
5 Essentials to Build 21st Century Teams
6 Reasons Leaders Are Harsh vs. Strong

©2015 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.

Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.


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3 Responses to “Leadership Emotion Radar: 12 Employee Emotional Needs to Honor”

  1. Rohan Light says:

    Hi Kate,

    I’m working with a client who noted ‘we’re not an emotional organisation’. Then I pointed out their language and culture indicated strong bonds between people. Somewhere along the way they had taken on the received view that business is an exercise in logic.

    My view is that business is a creative endeavor and requires emotional commitment to the work. This client’s organisation is full of committed people. They are a more emotional organisation than some I’ve seen who make a point of holding hands and singing songs (figuratively).

    From your list above it’s ‘momentum – transfer of energy’ that stands out for me as being the tough one to master. It takes a realization that a person can’t be ‘saved’ if they don’t want to save themselves to appreciate that the transfer of energy can’t be open ended.

    There are too many good causes in the world.

    Thanks for another good post,


    • Kate Nasser says:

      Hi Rohan,
      You highlighted the transfer of energy component. You also have a person — the one you mentioned — who believes that emotion and logic do not intersect. S/he is uncomfortable with emotion and instead of saying that simply contends that they are logical instead of emotional.

      That was the reason I wrote this post! I had encountered it so many times, I knew it was time to highlight was others believed to be a matter of fact. It isn’t. It’s a matter of choice.

      I am so glad this post spoke to you. Thanks for starting the discussion here with your specific example!

      Thank you!

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