Wharton Business School management professor, Sigal Barsade believes too many leaders focus on how employees think and behave at work & largely ignore how they feel.

This is because few managers realize that human feelings matter just as much – if not more – to their employees’ commitment, engagement & productivity. And by lacking a deeper understanding of what truly motivates people in their work lives – feelings & emotions – leaders unwittingly handicap their own performance, not to mention their teams’ performance.

For a very long time in business, emotions have been viewed as noise, a nuisance, something to be ignored. But one thing we know now after a quarter-century of research (much of it Barsade’s), is that emotions are not noise – they’re leadership data. They reveal not just how people are experiencing their work lives, but also how they’ll go on to perform.

In fact, in order for workplace leadership to truly advance, we’ve reached a point where it’s become essential for managers at every level to not only maintain an ongoing pulse of their team’s emotional culture, but to also be highly intentional about creating an environment where employees can fully thrive.

As we kick off the fourth season of the “Lead From The Heart” podcast, Sigal Barsade represents our consummate guest. Her brilliant work reconfirms that paying attention to the emotional side of work remains a huge gap in workplace leadership. And, as we discuss in great detail, emotions like affection, caring, appreciation & compassion prove to be the ones that really connect & inspire people. Researchers call this, “companionate love,” a term that, for some, might take a little getting used to.  But in Barsade’s words, “I’ve yet to see any research results indicating a positive outcome from an organization that has a systematic, strong culture of fear or sadness or anger.”

We’ve led exclusively with our minds for generations, & low engagement scores around the world reflect it.  To drive employee engagement where it can and should be, we must achieve a greater balance between mind & heart in how we manage human beings in the workplace. Listen in as Sigal Barsade wonderfully explains both the “why” and the “how.”

Please note, Wharton business school professor, Sigal Barsade, tragically died in February, 2022.  She was a mentor to Mark in writing the second edition of his book, but did not live to see it published.

By Mark C. Crowley

Mark C. Crowley is the author of Lead From The Heart: Transformational Leadership For The 21st Century which has been taught in 11 American universities. He is a global speaker, leadership consultant and thought leader on the topics of workplace culture and employee engagement.