Feelings Rule
by Brady Wilson

At the end of the day, what do people use to measure the quality of their interactions with you - the thoughts or the feelings you leave them with?

People measure the quality of their interactions with you, based on how you make them feel. As they walk away from you, they internally assess, "Do I feel accepted? Do I feel excited? Do I feel put down? Misunderstood?"

Regardless of the data or resources that change hands between you and others, feelings, in the final analysis, are what dictate the behaviors that contribute to your success (or failure).

Consider how each of the following behaviors is motivated by desired feelings and operating beliefs:

  • It looks like she's buying a Volvo, but she's really buying the feeling of security a Volvo will provide.

  • His boss gives him the new position due to his "Herculean" commitment, but it's a feeling of worth, (not the position) that motivates him.

  • After eating a caesar salad for lunch, she pops a piece of gum into her mouth. She didn't buy gum, she didn't even buy fresh breath. She bought the feeling of social acceptance she believes the gum will offer her.

Ultimately, every behavior is motivated by:

  1. A desire for certain feelings;

  2. Operating beliefs that certain behaviors will produce those feelings.

By understanding this, there is opportunity for you to make a quantum leap in your ability to be successful at leading others. Imagine what your environment could look like if you learned to:

  • Discover the "feeling mix" each employee is looking for.

  • Identify the operating beliefs that cause people to behave a certain way in order to get a certain feeling.

In the book, First, Break All the Rules, Buckingham and Coffman say, "It would be [most] efficient to identify the few emotions you want your employees to feel and then to hold your managers accountable for creating these emotions. These emotions become your outcomes." How do you begin to identify the feelings you want your employees to feel? Based on our own research, and the Gallup research of over two million employees in 2,500 business units in 12 industries presented in First, Break All the Rules, we have identified five feelings that matter:

The Five Feelings

  1. I Fit

  2. I'm Clear

  3. I'm Equipped/Supported

  4. I'm Valued

  5. I'm Inspired

When present, these five feelings "juice employees" and make them extremely productive - because when an employee feels a certain way, they behave a certain way. You can gain an edge by listening for these five feelings that are often expressed through the unspoken questions employees ask.

For instance, employees who ask questions about future opportunities may have a need to feel that they fit in their organization and in their particular role. Questions about progress may indicate an employee's need to feel clear about what they're doing and what's expected of them in their role. Discussions around feeling equipped may focus on the tools necessary to do a job, but it may also indicate that an employee needs to feel emotionally equipped with their manager's backing or support. If compensation becomes an issue, perhaps an employee doesn't feel valued in other ways, and they're making "the pay" the issue. Finally, people need to feel inspired - they want to achieve results, be challenged, reach growth objectives and be held accountable.

How do you make your people feel?

Brady Wilson is co-founder of Juice Inc. a strategic communications training company that helps leaders create a culture where itís easier to get results and it feels good to work. For more information about Juice Inc., visit www.JuiceFactor.ca. To contact Brady, email him at info@JuiceFactor.ca .

Many more articles in Communications in The CEO Refresher Archives


Copyright 2004 by Brady Wilson. All rights reserved.

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