If you want to lead you have to read other people’s emotions

Yay! Lunch break. I’m so happy. I’m going to grab a bite and run some errands. First stop: the meat counter.

“Hi. I need some sirloin steak, about 4 oz. Cut very thin please, so I can see through it!”

The saleslady reaches into the refrigerated display case to get the meat and peels back the plastic wrap.

“I’m making a special Asian dish so the meat needs to be sliced super thin. And if you could show me how it looks once you cut it, that would be great,” I tell her.


She looks at me like I’m nuts. “What kind of recipe is this for?” she asks.

“It’s for an Asian Hot Pot recipe, so it’s okay if the meat falls apart,” I try to explain, but she’s never heard of such a thing.


kommunikation emotion 02


She throws me a look of annoyance and mumbles something about “needing to open the package first before she can put it on the meat slicer.”

Either she’s having a bad day, I think to myself, or my request is too much to ask for or maybe she didn’t quite understand what I need?

She holds up the first slice and asks me if it will do?

I ask if the machine can be set to cut it even thinner?

Silence: Another form of communication

All of a sudden, her mood has changed. Smiling, the saleslady tells me about a customer who recently complained about her meat having been sliced too thin, even though that’s how she wanted it cut! Apparently, it was too thin for roasting and the meat ended up tough.

It was clear to me that the customer ruined her dinner herself. The butcher lady had cut it as requested and it wasn’t her fault that the meat ended up being tough. She simply had it in the oven too long.


It seems that my order for thin slices of beef reminded the saleslady of her not-so-friendly customer from a week ago.

When experiences become memories they can trigger feelings in us that can resurface in other situations.

The saleslady was probably afraid that I would come back and complain afterwards too. Customers are the mean ones here!

Wow, I thought, when she told me about the complaining customer. I completely sympathized with her. I agreed with her that the other customer didn’t know how to prepare the meat and that she was not to blame. And once I did this, she let down her guard and became visibly more relaxed.

I was able to confirm that she’s a good butcher and knows what she’s doing, but by understanding her point of view, I showed her that I valued her as a person.

“So that’s probably why you seemed annoyed with me today,” I chuckle.

She smiles a little too. “Sorry, I forgot to ask you if you need anything else today?”


kommunikation emotionIsn’t it interesting how emotions can affect communication skills?

If I hadn’t made an attempt to understand what she had gone through, or if I had given her a hard time back, I would have left the deli in a huff, and she would have been more convinced than ever that customers are just there to annoy her.

Communication skills are very important in our professional lives too. This is especially apparent when we are working in teams: Interpersonal skills are crucial for maintaining relationships.

Managers need to lead their teams so that there is teamwork and collaboration. How managers behave, how they deal with the team members’ different abilities and personalities is very important. Managers who are aware of their strengths and weaknesses and who know what to look out for when dealing with others, can become great leaders.

Oftentimes non-verbal communication is more telling than what is being said. Body language and facial expressions can reveal much about another’s state of mind. Becoming aware of this is key. Even when managers base decisions on performance results and sales, they are still primarily dealing with people.

If we can empathize with others, then we can become better leaders

HypnosystemCoaching® can help you become a better leader: a more conscious manager, a real change-maker, someone who inspires and empowers others; an expert at mitigating conflicts as well as inspiring innovations. Our coaching sessions help executives and top-level managers become better communicators so you can better lead your teams, identify talent, and improve collaboration.


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