What’s Your Emotional Temperature?

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This green sea turtle, basking on a Hawaiian beach, is regulating her temperature. Marine reptiles like sea turtles cool off or warm up by changing their behavior. For warmth, they glide into a warm current of water, or lumber up the beach to bask in the sun.

Helping leaders regulate their emotional temperatures is one of the jobs of executive coaching, and it starts by figuring out where a person falls on the emotional thermometer. Where do you land? It can be hard to tell from the inside: some of the “coolest” leaders I’ve met thought they were open and warm. It can help to get feedback from trusted friends and relatives.

If you recognize that you are projecting a cool if not downright chilly demeanor, consider following the sea turtle’s lead, and taking steps to warm up. I say this because research suggests that while employees may comply with the demands of a leader who is not warm, they are less motivated to perform well for such a person than for a warmer leader, a person who, for instance, validates feelings, asks about others, and uses more open gestures.

Wherever you fall on the thermometer, seek out ways to adjust your temperature a little higher, while still being true to yourself.

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