Leaders give praise or withhold it, criticize well or destructively, offer support or turn a blind eye to people's needs. They can frame the group's mission in ways that give more meaning to each person's contribution—or not. They can guide in ways that give people a sense of clarity and direction in their work and that encourage flexibility, setting people free to use their best sense of how to get the job done. All these acts help determine a leader's primal emotional impact.
People Magnets Regardless of who the emotional leader might be, however, she's likely to have a knack for acting as a limbic "attractor," exerting a palpable force on the emotional brains of people around her. Watch a gifted actor at work, for example, and observe how easily she draws an audience into her emotional orbit. Whether she's conveying the agony of a betrayal or a joyous triumph, the audience feels those things too.
In short, leaders' emotional states and actions do affect how the people they lead will feel and therefore perform. How well leaders manage their moods and affect everyone else's moods, then, becomes not just a private matter, but a factor in how well a business will do.42
A primal leadership dictum is that resonance amplifies and prolongs the emotional impact of leadership. The more resonant people are with each other, the less static are their interactions; resonance minimizes the noise in the system. "One team," as a business mantra proclaims, means "more signal, less noise." The glue that holds people together in a team, and that commits people to an organization, is the emotions they feel.