One of my most profound insights on the importance of embracing the full range of emotions for us as leaders (in our professional, parenting and personal lives!) has come from Pixar’s film, Inside Out. Yes, that’s right, the animated children’s film!
If you haven’t seen it, do! And if you have, watch it again – fresh. Why?
It’s super fun and creative and is an incredible exploration of the brain.
It offers SO many insights on emotional agility
We share this short (1.45m) scene in our Wellbeing and Emotional Agility Program – it has brought me (and many clients) to tears, in such a profoundly simple, beautiful and relevant way that I wanted to share it with you today.
Today, I am giving you five leadership lessons on emotional agility and resilience that the movie explores…
- Experiment with balancing emotions: Emotions take an important role in driving our behaviour, decisions, and our kaleidoscope of reality. In Inside Out, emotions are managed by Riley’s Central Control Team and while Joy is depicted as being the leaders of the Emotional Control Team, when Riley is under pressure, the other emotion characters take control.In a leadership role, if you ever feel yourself “losing control”, pause, notice your emotions and ask yourself which has their hand on your control levers?
- Notice perceptions: A funny scene in the movie depicts a dinner featuring the characters that represent Riley’s parents’ emotions, reminding us that people can perceive the same situations very differently.As a leader are you solely guided by your own perception of a situation (your personal kaleidoscope) or do you seek to check your assumptions and see things from other points of view?
- Exercise compassion: It’s a critical part of the High Definition 7Cs Coaching Journey and one of the key themes in the movie. Joy is determined to stop Sadness from affecting Riley and her memories (if all of this doesn’t make sense, please watch the 1.45min clip!). In doing so Riley emotionally shuts down, unable to feel either emotion.Inspiring leaders often look to foster positivity in their teams. At High Definition we focus on leading with possibility! it is important to recognise that sadness, anger and the other “negative” emotions have a place. Recognising sadness helps to develop empathy and strengthen relationships. And noticing emotions rather than ignoring them, strengthens individuals, the wider team and creates a strength of company culture.
- Understand identity and transition: Riley’s struggle with settling in to somewhere new, threatens her core memories and “islands of personality” otherwise known as her self identity, which are: family, friends, goof-ball, honesty and hockey!Newly promoted leaders often have a hard time letting go of previous roles and tasks that formed part of their work personality / identity. To move ‘up’ into that role, letting go of our old identity doesn’t have to mean you don’t have value, simply that you’re creating space for the ‘new’ value to emerge (*goof-ball is hopefully still a part of that value – a seriously underestimated leadership trait but that’s for another article!)5. Manage the expectations of change: Leaders who are dealing with change (who isn’t?!) have a tricky balance to find in managing expectations. Riley’s parents paint an unrealistic picture of how great their move to San Francisco is going to be (toxic positivity anyone?)In leading through change, it’s important to sell the vision, but also build trust and manage expectations by acknowledging the challenges of the journey when achieving that vision.
If no one else tells you today, I want to be the one to tell you that I am grateful for YOU. Thank you for being a part of my day, and thank you for being a part of my world.
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Client Success Story: Roisin – Manager at Fujitsu