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Genuine Curiosity

Author Dwayne Melancon is always on the lookout for new things to learn. An ecclectic collection of postings on personal productivity, travel, good books, gadgets, leadership & management, and many other things.


Management without emotion? Or management with only "approved" emotions?

Like millions of other people in the US, I watched The Apprentice last night.  It was the end of the season, where Donald Trump actually hires his apprentice.

One thing that bugged me was how much criticism Kendra, one of the final two, received for crying in the boardroom on the previous episode.  Trump kept talking about how he didn't like crying, making "even though you cried..." remarks, and things like that.

While I think it's important and professional to have control over your emotions, I think there are appropriate times to share your emotions as a manager or a leader.  In Kendra's case, she was overcome by the emotion of having a team come together and help her win a task - a team made up of people she'd had disagreements with in the past.  She was touched and grateful, and I thought her emotions were appropriate. And hey - I'm sure we've all been there at the end of projects, when you're worn out and your emotions are pretty close to the surface.

At one point, Trump asked Kendra if she thought her crying was a sign of weakness.  Her response was a good one; that she'd seen 300 lb. football players crying as they held up SuperBowl trophies.

I've seen displays of emotion from my managers and leaders before - not a common occurrence, for sure, but it's definitely happened.  Did I see these emotional moments as a sign of weakness?  Not in any case I can recall.  In each case I've experienced, it was a sign of humanity - of being "real."

Oh, yeah - Trump hired Kendra anyway, and recanted saying her crying was OK.  But I think his first reaction is probably fairly representative of the attitudes throughout the corporate world.

What about you - what have you experienced?
What are the "approved emotions" where you work?

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