Think for a moment about a great leader you knew…or maybe know…how did he/she make you feel?
Great leaders build people up…stoke their passions…and rouse their emotions…Relooking at Daniel Goleman’s book Primal Leadership as we prepare a few projects at work, I came across the concept of Resonance and Dissonance again and found my inner voice saying YES several times over and over again. You see generally leaders have two kinds of emotional impact. Resonance is the positive emotional affect of leadership: those who are led resonate in harmony with the leader’s emotions. Dissonance is the leadership’s negative emotional affect; those who are led break away emotionally from the leader. Because the human emotion system is more or less an open loop, people depend on others for emotional stimulus and reaction. In fact… emotions are contagious.
—Roger Kamien (2008)
So dissonance is a sort of poison…usually a product of a “personal power leader“….it is unhealthy physically and psychologically to an organization. Poor leaders spread dissonance…like a disease–examples are manipulative and/or tyrannical bullies who intentionally practice demeaning and humiliating subordinates, peers, and people in general. Others are just hypocrites…who say what they don’t mean and only care about self promotion and getting ahead…or there is the “clueless” leader who tries to create resonance, but doesn’t notice that their employees are LOCKED in negative emotions.
Goldman mentions…“When a leader triggers resonance, you can read it in people’s eyes: They’re engaged and they light up.”
Good leaders are effective because they create resonance. Resonance comes from the Latin word resonare, to resound. Effective leaders are attuned to other people’s feelings and move them in a positive emotional direction. They speak authentically about their own values, direction and priorities and resonate with the emotions of surrounding people. Under the guidance of an effective leader, people feel a mutual comfort level. Resonance comes naturally to people with a high degree of emotional intelligence (self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management) but involves also intellectual aspects.
These leaders work at developing their emotional intelligence — “the competencies of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management.”
Resonant leaders know how to mobilize energy in people, teams and other groups… how to inspire and motivate through hope and VISION, meaning, and purpose; how to increase productivity while also releasing people’s talent, creativity, and resilience… they can truly build a resonate culture that calls for everyone’s best.
And now…the question becomes, how do we train tomorrow’s leaders to resonate? More as we try to figure that one out. Anyone with ideas, please comment or email. Thank you.