Don’t make decisions in an emotional vacuum

40348905_SThere’s plenty of advice out there about what it takes to be a good leader or successful entrepreneur. The fact is, until you’ve lived the experience, until you’ve actually done it, it’s hard to really know what those guiding principles are.

Armchair leadership quarterbacks point to things like skills or expertise when they boast about how much they know. But real leaders, those who have served in the time-tested trenches of a business startup, know that succeeding is as much about the heart as it is about the mind.

While the brain provides a good base for logical thought, the heart helps drive emotions. “But I shouldn’t be making emotional decisions,” you might say. To that we say, go right ahead! You should be making emotional decisions.

You are a human being. You are an emotional creature. To shut off those vital emotions would be like shutting off the valve to a crucial aspect of your being. The key is not to make decisions in an emotional vacuum, but to be able to moderate your emotional response. A recent Harvard study found that it is absolutely possible to utilize your emotions in effective decision-making.

Try it with your next big decision; combine the power of your mind and heart. Use logic and reason to shape your emotional response to a vexing problem, particularly one that deals with other people. After all, it’s hard to be an effective leader when you are cold to the touch.

“John Doe was really an amazing leader, I just loved how emotionally detached he was,” said no one, ever. Don’t be “that guy.” Be there for your people. Use your heart and your head, but neither exclusively.

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