Barbara is the founder of Elysian Tech. She wants to align her executive team with the Barbara is the founder of Elysian Tech. She wants to align her executive team with the company’s new strategic direction. She recently delivered a presentation that she hoped would get them to buy into her vision.

When she ended, she felt nothing but frustration. The executives, usually buzzing with innovative ideas and laughter, had been tense. Barbara had discussed crucial matters around the concerns of the team and how the new corporate vision would impact their workload, pay and autonomy to creatively do their work.

Barbara had painstakingly crafted her message, addressing each fear and concern. She assured them of the amount of work they’d be expected to perform, the stability of their pay in these turbulent times, and confirmed that no vacation time would be cut. She hoped that her words would quell the apprehension gnawing at her team. But, as she looked around the room, she could see they weren’t hearing the new vision.

Her message, meant to calm the waters, had instead dropped like a big rock in a still pond. The surface-level fears were addressed, but the ripples of deeper, unaddressed emotions weren’t touched on. Barbara left the meeting feeling dissatisfied and guilty. She knew she had missed something significant in her communication with key members of her team.

Barbara’s experience isn’t uncommon. In a frenetic world that constantly pulls us in many directions, it’s difficult to connect with people at a deeper level. This is especially true of “checklist leaders.”

Leadership expert John Fenton uses this term to describe individuals who lead by checking items off a list, rather than by understanding the heart of issues their organizations must deal with.

You Must Dive Deeper To Connect With Listener Emotions

If you want to become a more effective leader, or a more influential communicator, there are three emotional elements you must address.

When we discuss people’s concerns, we often speak in surface level terms like ‘fear’, ‘needs’, and ‘wants’. But when we dig deeper, we find there are three pivotal emotional states that underlie these terms:

  1. Control
  2. Certainty
  3. Comfort.

People crave the feeling that they can steer the direction of their lives. If they work in an environment in which they feel they have no say-so or ability to unleash their natural creativity, they will quickly become disenchanted, and eventually they’ll leave.

If you foster an environment that empowers individuals, you allow them to feel a sense of control. To enable them to feel more innovative and accomplish at a higher level, here are four effective methods:

  1. Autonomy in Roles: Employees should have the freedom to manage their tasks in a way that aligns with their strengths and preferences. This can only be done without micromanagement. Autonomy promotes creativity and a sense of ownership over tasks and projects.
  1. Involve them in Decision-making: Invite employees to participate in the decision-making process. This could be in matters directly concerning their work, team decisions, or even larger strategic discussions. This involvement enables them to feel more control over their work environment and boosts engagement.
  1. Transparent Communication: Regularly share company news, updates, and decisions. Transparency gives your team insight into the company’s direction, which can provide them with a feeling of control and stability.
  1. Foster A Safe Environment: One of the most powerful ways to create a culture where employees feel comfortable voicing their ideas and concerns. Knowing that their input is valued boosts confidence and a sense of influence.

One of your most effective outcomes is to build a culture where employees feel empowered and have a sense of control over their work. This will lead to higher productivity, satisfaction, and loyalty.


When times feel chaotic, people need a measure of certainty. When they don’t feel this, it’s nearly impossible for them to be creative and effective.

To create a feeling of certainty, there are four strategies you can employ:

  1. Clear And Regular Communication: Communication is fundamental. Regularly update your team about the state of the business, upcoming changes, and their role within the organization. Also, be transparent about uncertainties. Team members will appreciate your honesty and trust you more.
  1. Set Clear Expectations: Be clear about what is expected of team members. This includes task-related duties, performance goals, behavioral norms, and possible outcomes (both positive and negative).
  1. Consistent Leadership: Be a stable figure for your team. Be consistent in your behavior, decisions, and approach to leadership. People will feel more secure. Uncertainty often stems from inconsistent management.
  1. Recognition and Feedback: Regular feedback sessions and recognition of achievements can make individuals feel valued and assured of their place within your organization.

Creating certainty is an ongoing process, not a one-time activity. Nurture an environment of trust, transparency, and consistency, and you’ll give your team a sense of certainty that improves morale, productivity, and loyalty.


The human instinct is to gravitate towards what feels safe and comfortable. This presents a challenge because most problems are solved in an atmosphere of dis-comfort. Trying new ideas, even successful ones, involves stepping into unfamiliar territory.

However, when you create an environment in which it is comfortable to take risks, you give your team the freedom to try new ideas outside the norm.

To create a feeling of comfort, there are five different strategies you can employ:

  1. Celebrate Mistakes As Learning Opportunities: Instead of penalizing errors, turn them into teachable moments. When employees know they won’t be harshly judged for mistakes, they’re more willing to take creative risks. Acknowledge that innovation comes with trial and error, and that errors are an essential step towards success.
  1. Provide Clear Guidance: While encouraging creativity, it’s also vital to offer direction. Provide constructive feedback, and employees will have a better understanding of where their boundaries lie and how far they can push them. Regular check-ins and guidance offer a safety net for those venturing into unfamiliar territory.
  1. Offer Training and Resources: Provide workshops, training sessions, or bring in external experts. This can help equip employees with new skills and techniques. This gives them the tools to be creative and the confidence to step out of their comfort zone knowing they’re well-prepared.
  1. Encourage Peer Support: Collaborative environments can ease the discomfort of trying something new. When employees work together, brainstorm, and share ideas, they can validate and inspire one another. Having a trusted colleague by one’s side can be a significant source of comfort when navigating uncharted waters.

Encouraging creativity by nudging employees out of their comfort zones is a delicate act. Balance the challenge with adequate support so employees feel excited about the possibilities rather than overwhelmed by the unknown.

As leaders, it’s vital that we move beyond superficial concerns and address the core emotional drivers of our team. Our job as effective communicators is to tap into these emotions and reflect them in our strategy. By doing so, we offer solutions to problems as well as a promise of control, certainty, and comfort.

Recommended Resource

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Three Keys To Increase Your Impact On Others ultima modifica: 2023-08-09T11:23:47-04:00 da Michael Davis