Chris Welford's Answer:
Reading your posting made me wonder about how strong the relationships are between you and your team members - on a human level? Maybe this is the missing ingredient?
You come across as a rational and professional manager but if we try and strip the emotion out of management altogether, if we fail to acknowledge the feelings that accompany any relationships between people and if we try and keep each and every transaction purely on the intellectual level, we turn ourselves into pretty cold fish! We certainly don't demonstrate leadership in the true sense of the word. Emotions are the glue in all relationships and management is no different!
When a significant issue at work comes up, your people experience one of two things - stress or pleasure. Stress is associated with the thought that something is dangerous, could hurt them or that they might experience loss. Stress is also a personal reaction and not a universal experience. Pleasure, on the other hand, is generally connected with the expectation of satisfaction.
When we think of something as dangerous, we become frightened. When things hurt us, we generally feel angry and when we experience loss we feel sad: three primary emotions - fear, anger and sadness. Add a fourth primary emotion - joy, and we have the full set! Pretty much everything else is a variation on a theme.
So, what happens with each? If we feel frightened, we want to run away. If we feel anger we feel compelled to attack and if we feel sad, we often close up and want less contact. Of course, if we feel joy, we tend to move towards things.
The next question, having acknowledged emotions, rather than tried to keep them out of the conversation, is what to do. Again, there are a limited number of appropriate responses.
The frightened person really needs your help and reassurance to stop them fleeing, emotionally or physically. The angry person needs to see that something is able to change and the sad person needs some consolation from you. And just in case we forget, let's not leave out the happy person who really, really wants to share their positive feelings with you.
Just being a bit more aware of all of this would make a great deal of difference to many leaders. So next time you anticipate having to have a difficult conversation, stop and think about the emotional needs of the people on the other end. How about working with the emotions in the team? Combining this with your professionalism and drive could be a powerful cocktail.