Tuesday, January 14, 2014


Are You Sensitive to People’s Emotions?
(Do you tend to change your approach based on their emotions; or, change their emotions?)

The first leadership class I took was taught by an Army Officer with combat experience in 2 wars.  Granted, I was just a patrol leader in a Boy Scout troop, but the message he imparted to us was non-the-less potent because we were all army brats, and we knew the weight of his experience.  He told us that you “cannot cloud your judgment by how your team members feel.”  Sounds easy to remember and solid from the source doesn’t it.

Right on the heels of that proclamation, my father told me the story of why he did not go to West Point and were nearly court martialed.  There were attacking a hill in North Korea during the Korean conflict and the unit’s communications sergeant, the only radio man they had, freaked out, and threw his rifle on the ground, shed the radio, and ran back down the hill.  Normally, that would not be something you had to deal with right then, but the Chinese were in the fight, and on top of the hill, in far greater numbers, and this unit’s only purpose was to call down fire from the batteries positioned to shell this hill.  There were already down to 50% strength, and it was getting worse.  So my dad, breaking the law, took his rifle, yelled at the sergeant to stop, and then doubled him over with the butt of his weapon.  Then he gave him back his weapon and his radio, and had him set up the communication post.  First you have to know that hitting a solider, when you are an officer, is illegal.  Second, you have to know that my father knew the man.  He knew that he was terrified, and he knew that he would be put in jail for desertion if he let him run down the hill.  He knew the man’s family and his children, and he also knew that the whole unit, including the man running away, was going to die right then if the cannon were not directed to the hill.  Finally, he knew the man was a very solid solider with honesty and loyalty deep in his being.  You see, my father had felt that fear before himself, so he stopped the man, knowing that it would work, and saved the unit.

My father was not court martialed, but he was reprimanded.  He told me that it was worth it.  He also told me to make a study of the people I worked with, knowing their emotional strengths and weakness, and sharing mine with them.  If I did that, where ever I worked, Boy Scouts, real life, wherever, I would get more done.  The people, it turns out, are more important than the mission.  Without them, there is no mission.

Answer these questions before you go on to the drills on the next page. These are just information questions to get you to think about other people’s emotions and what they mean to you.  They don’t necessarily indicate anything.

1)       Can you feel other people’s emotions when you look at them?                                               _____ Yes    ______No

2)       Can you feel other people’s emotions when you watch their behavior?                                  _____ Yes    ______No

3)       Do you feel you have to know a person to know their state of mind these ways?                   _____ Yes    ______No

4)       Do other people’s emotions make it hard for you to concentrate?                                            _____ Yes    ______No

5)       Have you ever caught yourself manipulating others with their emotions?                                 _____ Yes    ______No


Drill 1: - What type of Emotions can You Notice

With you Small Group, discuss what each of the questions might mean for either a positive or negative answer, and how that might impact your leadership abilities and duties.

Drill #2 – Monkey Drill

In order that you know what a facial posture or behavior might look like in others, you have to be able to mimic that behavior, posture of facial expression on yourself.  The best way to do that is to practice it.  Take the cards with these emotions on them, pass them out to your team, and then you, the only one without a card, teach a physical conditioning class heavy on ab work.  You have 5 minutes to determine the emotions of your team from their behavior, expressions or posture. 

The team members:  Don’t make it obvious.  Just like in real life, you attempt to bury your emotions so that no one knows what is really going on inside your skull.

Finally, after 5 minutes, get all the teams back together, and let the team members know what you thought you saw.

Discuss for each one, why you believe what you believe, and then have them tell you what was on their card.  Do this with all the teams present to enhance the learning experience.

Behaviors, Expressions and Postures

1)       You had a bad day at work or school – Behavior

2)       You have a migraine – Expressions

3)       You have been sick for a few weeks – Posture

4)       You had an argument with a family member and you feel wronged – Behavior or Expressions

5)       Financial Issues – Behavior or Posture

6)       You don’t like the subject matter in class this cycle – behavior

7)       You want to hit things, and you are not hitting things – Posture or Expressions

8)       You need to do some work at home, but you really want to take class – Behavior

9)       You had too much coffee – Behavior

10)    You are VERY tired – Posture or Behavior

11)    Your confused – Behavior or Expression

12)    You pet is sick – behavior

13)    You need extra help but no one else does – Expression or posture

14)    You are infatuated with someone in class –Behavior

15)    You are happy and you don’t know why – Expression or Posture

16)    You can stop laughing – something funny you can’t let go of – Behavior or Expression

17)    You are sad, and you don’t know why – Expression or Behavior

18)    Degusted with something someone said on the way to class – Posture or Behavior

19)    Surprised in a Good way – Behavior

20)    Skeptical about something in class – Expression

21)    Embarrassed about anything – behavior or Expression

22)    Worried about anything – Posture or Expression

23)    Despair – something outside of karate – Behavior or Expression or Posture

24)    Innocent of some accusation that is taking over your life – Expression or Posture

25)    Evil – You are retaliating against the world - Behavior

26)    Bored – Expression or Posture

27)    Disapproval of someone in class – Expression

28)    Shamed – something outside of class – Behavior or Expression

29)    Excited – Something inside or outside of Class – Behavior or Expression

30)    Snubbed inside or outside of class

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