195. Leveraging Emotions

About this Podcast

Ep. 195 – Do you ever feel like your emotions are running the show? As leaders, we often struggle with the pressure to keep things bottled up and be “professional.” But what if there was actually a benefit in embracing your emotions, both good and bad?

In this episode of The Manager Track podcast, Ramona proposes that there is a way to leverage those emotions to create positive outcomes. As a leader, understanding and expressing emotions authentically (yet still managed), whether positive or negative, can influence and inspire others.

The same can be said for your team members as well. By engaging with team members about their feelings and emotions, you can create a supportive and constructive environment.

If you are looking for tips on leveraging the power of emotions for your team, don’t miss this episode.

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Episode 195 Transcript:

Ramona Shaw [00:00:00]:
This is going to be a good one. We’re gonna talk about leveraging emotions, the good and the bad, those that feel exciting, make us happy, and then also the things that frustrate us, make us angry, or just make us feel insecure. Let’s talk about it. Here’s the question. How do you successfully transition into your 1st official leadership role? Build the confidence and competence to lead your team successfully and establish yourself as a respected and trusted leader across the organization? That’s the question, and this show provides deep answers. Welcome to The Manager Track podcast. I’m your host, Ramona Shah, and I’m on a mission to create workplaces where work is not seen as a source of stress and dread, but as a source of contribution, connection, and fulfillment. And this transition starts with developing a new generation of leaders who know how to lead so everyone wins and grows.

Ramona Shaw [00:00:50]:
In the show, you learn how to think, communicate, and act as the confident and competent leader you know you can be. Welcome to this episode of The Manager Track Podcast. This episode of Leveraging Emotions is something that it’s a topic that has been on my mind for quite a while. And I talk about emotions and emotional management here on the podcast ever so often because it’s a big part of leadership So manage your own emotions, but also be emotionally intelligent to read and navigate other people’s emotions. And in recent years where a lot of people were dealing with overwhelm, stress, burnout, and fears around what’s happening with the pandemic or what’s happening with the potential recession or with layoffs. Emotions have and I wouldn’t even say historically that wasn’t the case, but just have been top of mind for a lot of people. And a lot of leaders also started feeling a little exhausted with carrying that emotional load, not only for themselves and maybe their family members too, but also every day for the their team. There’d always be someone or multiple people who were having emotionally a difficult time, and the leader takes some of that on.

Ramona Shaw [00:02:13]:
And that can feel really tiring. So this is not an episode about burnout, but I do wanna talk about how to leverage emotions. But before we dive in, Let’s quickly talk about where emotions come from. So one of the things that we have to get really clear on first, as we talk about emotions, is that there are situations, circumstances, things in our lives that are factual, that could be captured on a video camera, on video, or on a picture. Whatever those circumstances. I’m at a computer. I am recording a podcast. I could say.

Ramona Shaw [00:02:55]:
I received an email from my employee 2 minutes ago. I delegated work yesterday that had a due date of today and I haven’t received it yet. Those are facts. Right? Those are things we could capture. I said yesterday, the deadline is today. At noon. It’s now noon, and I haven’t received it. We could actually record that, and everyone would agree.

Ramona Shaw [00:03:18]:
These are facts. We don’t have emotions around facts. Facts are neutral. What What someone says is a disrespectful comment or what someone says is a poor way of leadership, that is not a fact. Poor leadership cannot be captured on video in itself. We wouldn’t all agree. What you consider poor leadership is not what I would consider poor leadership most likely. What I consider to be a rude comment may not be what you consider a rude comment.

Ramona Shaw [00:03:55]:
So that’s it really important when it comes to emotions. The facts around us are not emotional. They’re facts. Then we see these facts or we experience them, and we have thoughts about them. We interpret them a certain way. We interpret a sentence as rude, disrespectful. We consider a lack of follow through as lazy or poor judgment or poor task management. We consider a typo as sloppy.

Ramona Shaw [00:04:34]:
Those are interpretations or thoughts about these facts. Two different things. Most people don’t separate the 2. And then when we consider facts to also have judgment and interpretations all combined into 1. It’s like 1 big not a ball. It’s all one thing. Then it becomes really hard to manage our emotions because we blame all of it to the outside world to the circumstances. Okay.

Ramona Shaw [00:05:04]:
So facts separate from our thoughts and interpretations. Now thoughts and interpretations are also separate from our emotions or our feelings. How the the things that are going on that we are sensing inside of us. Guilt, fear, anger, hurt or shame, frustration, doubt, anxiety, joy, happiness, excitement, you name it. Those are the common feelings that we experience in the workplace. Those are also separate from our thoughts. But it is our thinking, our interpretations that fuel those feelings. Okay? So the way that we think fuels or triggers how we feel.

Ramona Shaw [00:05:56]:
If I think if I have a presentation tomorrow, and I think, oh my gosh, I’m not prepared yet. I’m scared of this audience. They’re going to judge me. I don’t know my stuff well enough yet. I’m not good enough at the at this yet. Who am I to tell them about this environmental trend or whatever the topic may be? Then I start to feel anxious, insecure, scared, fearful, doubtful because of the thoughts in my head. Right? The presentation itself, again, that is the circumstance or the fact is neutral. So I’m I’m spending a lot of time here, but this is really, really important.

Ramona Shaw [00:06:38]:
So when we say we wanna manage our emotions or actually leverage emotions, We have to understand that emotions are different from our thinking, our judgments, our thoughts. And our judgment thoughts and our, interpretations are also different from the facts. So when something happens and I get frustrated, it’s because of the way I think about it, not about the fact. It’s the way I think about it that makes me feel frustrated. Now someone may say, I was thrown under the bus by my coworker, by my peer in a leadership meeting today, and I’m super upset about it. And I’m upset about it because I was thrown under the bus for a fact. It seems totally plausible. But when you say that or then if that’s the way you see it, then it’ll be really hard to take responsibility for your emotions.

Ramona Shaw [00:07:38]:
Because the reason why you’re upset is because what someone else did or didn’t do. Someone else is now in control of your emotions. Someone else can do something, and they’re in control. They’re controlling, manipulating your emotional state. As I know we’ve all been sort of trained and brought up that that seems to be totally the normal thing. And I’m the crazy person here saying, no. Hold on a second. That’s not quite true.

Ramona Shaw [00:08:05]:
But entertain this for a moment. Just try it on. If you think someone undermined you or threw you under the bus, it’s because of how you interpreted that situation in the meeting, whatever they said or whatever they did that could be captured on a camera. Right? Your interpretation was they threw me under the bus. It may very well be true. But if you continue to think that the way you feel is because of what they did, Who’s in charge of your emotions? They are. If you think the reason why I’m frustrated is because I think they threw me under the bus, then at any given point, I could say, you know what? Even if they threw me under the bus, who cares? I don’t care. Or maybe they they try to throw me under the bus, but they totally flocked at that, or they didn’t really mean to try me under the bus.

Ramona Shaw [00:09:02]:
They’re trying desperately to sell their project. And that was just one of their strategies is to undermine my project. There are many, many ways I could, in my mind, change my thinking about that situation to then feel differently. Right? It if I think they just don’t know any better. That’s, like, the only strategy they have. They just don’t know better. They don’t know how to do it or how to engage or how to present without throwing someone else under the bus. And all of a sudden, I’m not that frustrated.

Ramona Shaw [00:09:35]:
I feel more empathy with that person or more compassionate with that person, because it’s not about me personally. So I changed my thinking and immediately start to feel differently. Or I might say, maybe they feel like I’m not listening to them, and I’m not hearing their concerns. And that prompted them to bring it up in a leadership meeting without me knowing in advance. So maybe there’s something for me to learn here, and I take some responsibility. I’m just giving you examples of how you could change your thinking about that situation to immediately feel better. So when you see, oh, here’s the chain reaction, and I don’t like the way that I feel, don’t try to solve the circumstance or the fact out there, try to look at your way of thinking about it. Now now let’s talk about leveraging emotions.

Ramona Shaw [00:10:28]:
Because as much as we wanna understand where emotions are coming from, we also need to look at How can we make use of these emotions? Because emotions are real as of real sensations that we are feeling, and there’s usually a signal. It it tells us something. It’s not always worthwhile bringing it up or investigating it. Sometimes, it’s just a feeling. They recognize this is kinda my problem, not the other other person’s problem. Like being jealous in a partnership, for example. I mean, I’m sure there’s reasons why totally justified, so to speak. Many times, we have this feeling of jealousy for really, really no good reason.

Ramona Shaw [00:11:13]:
But there’s something we don’t like. Now do we have to leverage that emotion and bring it up, talk about it, share that we’re feeling jealous. No. Probably not. Probably that’s on our own to resolve, can stay within our head and within our bodies. It doesn’t need to be shared with our partner or our spouse. I’m not saying you shouldn’t. That’s totally your choice, but it doesn’t have to be.

Ramona Shaw [00:11:36]:
But when it’s an emotion that you feel and you think something useful can come from this because it’s giving me a valid signal. Then when you can manage it well, you can leverage it. When it’s unmanaged and uncontrolled, then it’s likely gonna backfire if you try to leverage it. But when you know how to manage your emotions, you can understand how to use them to get what you want and how to manage them on your own when they get in the way of you achieving or getting what you want, then that’s a superpower. When you feel angry or frustrated with a team, for example, Everyone’s showing up late to a meeting, and it frustrates you because you just had to spend 10 minutes waiting there for people to trickle in. Your frustration in the moment could be leveraged. You’d say like, hey. I’m feeling frustrated with us spending the 1st 10 minutes waiting for people to come to come join a meeting.

Ramona Shaw [00:12:45]:
I expect for us to start on time and for everyone to be on the virtual call or in the meeting room at this given time. This is the expectation. I’m not tolerating people coming in and trickling in 10 minutes later. That sense of frustration that you can share out loud by saying, I’m feeling frustrated, not by acting it out, but being passive aggressive or raising your voice or becoming snarky. Right? That’s not useful. But you saying I’m feeling frustrated with that authentic emotion, explaining what why you’re frustrated and what you’re looking for, that means you’re leveraging it. Your team will notice this is frustrating, and for a good reason. It then helps you achieve the goal without, by any means, be disrespectful, personalizing on the other person, or finger pointing and playmate.

Ramona Shaw [00:13:45]:
You’re simply stating how you’re feeling and what you’re expecting. The same is true with enthusiasm or excitement. You might notice that, hey. We have really big plans for the year. They can feel a little scary or they can or people are really excited. How do you tell stories or show your own enthusiasm? And you consciously bring that to display so people see how much passion you carry, how invested you are in this, how much you believe in this. Let’s say your company is acquiring office space, and you found a really good office space. And you go back to the leadership team and you pitch this this particular opportunity.

Ramona Shaw [00:14:35]:
If you pitch it just with the facts. Although you’re personally really excited, but you’re not leveraging that emotion. You’re trying to argue with data. But you’re missing out on leveraging the emotions. The emotions that you feel of enthusiasm, for this property, the excitement that you have, the the vision that you see, how this could be used in the future as office space or help the business. And then cultivate this emotion inside of you. So think about what it will do and how it could help, and then convey that emotion in your presentation. As you make the case, as you speak to people, you know, formally or in official settings, behind closed doors, in the hallway, in small chitchats and interactions, demonstrate your enthusiasm.

Ramona Shaw [00:15:26]:
Hey. You know, we’re just checking in on we’re we’re having, a team meeting. People say like, hey. What have you been doing? What’s going on? He said like, super excited. We saw this really cool office space yesterday, and I think this could be a really great opportunity, for I’m really think thrilled to be on that project. Now you leverage that emotion to get others interested too, right, to get others’ attention too. So on the spectrum from, like, what we would sort of typically classify as negative emotions or positive emotions, though the things that you feel are signals. And when these signals, these feelings can help you get what you want and what you’re trying to achieve professionally or with your team or for the organization, then leverage the emotions, convey them, make a case, use them to create progress.

Ramona Shaw [00:16:29]:
Never ever does that mean to be disrespectful, to unleash emotions on others that cannot be managed and are uncontrolled. So if you don’t know how to manage your emotions, how to be in control of them, this idea of leveraging emotions, specifically the negative ones, will likely not work. So learn to manage your emotions first by understanding that your feelings come from your thinking, your judgments, your personal assessments, your thoughts, not from the facts, not from the actual circumstances and and the situations. Own your part in your emotions. Take emotional responsibility. And then when you feel like you got that and you’ve know that you can manage your emotions, then leverage them for the benefit. Emotions can be a really powerful leadership tool if you do it right. I hope you found this helpful to think about emotions not in the context of, like, they’re draining or there’s too much of it, but really as a way to he this is a tool, And it’s worthwhile thinking about how and when can I use emotions? Thanks for tuning in, for reflecting on this.

Ramona Shaw [00:17:42]:
If you’d know coworkers, friends, colleagues who benefit from hearing this as well, please share it along. It can also, by the way, be a great a great topic to bring up in your 1 on 1 conversations with team members. When you notice, for example, that they’re fearful or that they are insecure about some something or doubtful. To lean into that and and say, like, how are you feeling about it? And they say, I’m feeling a little fearful, or I’m feeling unsure about it. Okay. When you feel unsure, What are the thoughts? Like, what are the doubts that come up? And then let’s use that insecurity to gather more information or to develop stronger conviction. Right? Confidence and conviction. Sometimes it’s it’s about that.

Ramona Shaw [00:18:30]:
But understand that there’s an emotion at play and shy away from addressing it. Some peep some team members will happily jump on it and will appreciate you having that conversation with them and you being curious, and others won’t, and you will know. You’re not being intrusive by asking, Hey. How are you feeling about this? If they don’t wanna talk about it, they’ll just give you an answer that doesn’t include feelings. That will tell you what they think about it, and then you know. So there’s nothing to lose and a whole lot to gain when you start to tap into the emotional level in your conversations with team members and for yourself as well. With that said, have a good week, and I’ll see you in the next episode of The Manager Track podcast. Bye bye.

Ramona Shaw [00:19:17]:
If you enjoyed this episode, then check out 2 other awesome resources to help you become a leader people love to work with. This includes my best selling book, the confident and competent new manager, which you can find on Amazon or at ramonashaw.com/book and a free training on how to successfully lead as a new manager. You can check it out at ramona shaw.com com/masterclass. These resources and a couple more, you’ll find in the show notes down below.


  1. How can separating facts from emotions in the workplace help us become better leaders?
  2. How can leaders effectively convey their emotions, such as frustration or enthusiasm, without being disrespectful or losing control?
  3. Why is it important for leaders to be aware of and address the emotions of their team members, and how can they do so effectively?
  4. What are some strategies for fostering open discussions about emotions in the workplace, and how can leaders create a supportive environment for their team members?


  • Learn how to turn your 1-on-1 meetings from time wasters, awkward moments, status updates, or non-existent into your most important and valuable meeting with your directs all week. Access the course and resources here: ramonashaw.com/11
  • Have a question or topic you’d like Ramona to address on a future episode? Fill out this form to submit it for her review: https://ramonashaw.com/ama



Grab your copy of Ramona’s best-selling book ‘The Confident & Competent New Manager: How to Rapidly Rise to Success in Your First Leadership Role’: amzn.to/3TuOdcP

If this episode inspired you in some way, take a screenshot of you listening on your device and post it to your Instagram Stories, and tag me @ramona.shaw.leadership or DM me on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/ramona-shaw

Are you in your first manager role and don’t want to mess it up? Watch our FREE Masterclass and discover the 4 shifts to become a leader people love to work for: ramonashaw.com/masterclass

Don’t forget to invest time each week to increase your self-awareness, celebrate your wins, and learn from your mistakes. Your career grows only to the extent that you grow. Grab your Career Journal with leadership exercises and weekly reflections here: ramonashaw.com/shop

Love the podcast and haven’t left a review yet? All you have to do is go to ramonashaw.com/itunes and give your honest review. Thanks for your support of this show!

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