Emotionally Revealing

beauty girl cry on black background

The Tears of a Leader –  are they a good thing?

Yesterday’s announcement by President Obama has, as expected, sparked further furious debate about gun control and civil liberties in the USA.   People are also talking about the moment where the emotion of discussing the shooting of young schoolchildren became almost too much to bear.

The sight of the most powerful man on earth with tears streaming down his face, struggling to contain his words and actions, may have moved some and perhaps made others uncomfortable.

I remember taking part in a Corporate HR Leadership Programme the culmination of which was a ‘Personal Mastery’ session.  This involved sharing our answers to 3 profound questions* about our leadership and “purpose” to our fellow participants.  First up was our HR Director ”Dave” and I remember him sitting in front of us being searingly honest about his own leadership and what was important to him.  Dave also became emotional when talking about his values and why he felt he was placed here. Not ‘out-of-control’ emotional but like Obama, Dave became tearful at one point and struggled to get his words out.

Others too became emotional/tearful during their mastery session that day and most agreed it was a powerful and valuable session. However, some discussion in the bar afterwards was around whether Dave “did himself any favours” by revealing those all too human emotions to us, his team.  This seemed to be centred on political/hierarchical concerns about Dave’s “position” rather than authenticity. It seems some people found it “uncomfortable”.

I think being Emotionally Revealing can be helpful to leaders, provided it’s authentic and for the right purpose.  Daniel Goleman’s EI model proposes a “Regulation” of our emotions but I do not take this to mean shutting down emotions. Surely revealing (in a controlled way) your true feelings are the key to authentic and trustworthy leadership?  Dave did this and in doing so allowed others to explore and share their true feelings about what was important to them. The President did this and showed that frankly, he’s had enough of it.

I don’t know if Obama will be successful in his executive order but I do know for sure it is important to him.

Important enough for him not to be afraid to reveal his true feelings about those dreadful events.

Important enough to do something about.


* these are the questions we answered.

Questions for leaders

  1. What is distinctive about your style of leadership?
  2. What is important to you and what do you value most?
  3. What will your legacy be?
Posted by John Drysdale
6th January 2016
John's Blog


Liverpool based training company, No Guru is ‘leading in learning’ as the ILM city region hub

North West employers now have access to professional development qualifications for management, team leaders and supervisory staff as Cotton Exchange based training company, No Guru becomes the Liverpool City Region hub for ILM accreditation.


University Contract extended for 2 Years

Leeds Beckett University relationship extended

We are delighted to announce our current contract to provide Staff Training and Team Building to Leeds Beckett University has been extended a further 2 years.

During the next academic year we will be running new programmes around:

  • Strategic Thinking
  • Leading Change
  • Leading & Empowering People
  • Working to Strengths
  • Designing and Delivering Presentations

Additionally we will continue to work with Teams to deliver on the University Strategic Framework as well as completing our first ILM Level 5 Coaching & Mentoring programme for internal ‘Coaching Champions’.

We would like to thank People Development and everyone at Leeds Beckett for making it a great place to work.


NEW: Even more Online Courses

We’re very pleased to announce new additions to our Online Suite of Training Courses.  We have just added:

  • Anti Harassment and Bullying
  • Effective Delegation
  • Disciplinary Procedures
  • Negotiation

Our course of the week this week is Safeguarding Children.  (more…)


John's Blog

Image Triage – be careful what you post

How to avoid public ‘shaming’

If you’ve ever read Jon Ronson’s book ‘Shamed’, you will know the devastating effect social media can have on people who have posted something stupid on the internet.

Ronson highlights the case of Justine Sacco (a director of corporate communications) who, before boarding an 11-hour flight from Heathrow to Cape Town, Tweeted to her 170 followers what she thought was a series of lighthearted, acerbic comments about her journey. (more…)

Across the great divide

Let’s be kinder to each other in 2017

There is a striking memorial in a park in Indianapolis.  It marks the spot where in April 1968, Robert Kennedy told a waiting crowd that Martin Luther King had been shot and killed, before speaking from the heart and his own personal experience, that violence is never an answer to our grievances.  His calming words quelled the rioting that other cities endured in the days after Dr King’s death and, arguably, saved some lives that night.


The memorial itself is an arresting work of art.  (more…)

Thinking In A World That Doesn’t Think

Arsene Wenger and that letter

A recent item appeared on LinkedIn that made me curious.  You may have seen it.

It purports to show a resignation letter written by a disillusioned employee of Arsenal Football Club, citing his reason for leaving: (more…)