Leadership Tip: Emotional Literacy

Someone ate my sandwich!

One of our clients, a construction manager, shared a familiar story about someone at his workplace eating his lunch without asking. He said he held onto his anger for six months. Sound familiar?

This story reminded us of the Friends episode where Ross got angry – and held onto that anger – over someone eating his prized Thanksgiving-leftover turkey sandwich. Here's the clip if you haven't seen it.

A core leadership skill Crafted Leadership covers is the skill of processing feelings in the moment. This is a more efficient and effective use of energy, but it’s rarely practiced in professional settings because of a prevailing discomfort or bias against expressing feelings. The result is often a backlog of unexpressed emotions – emotions that will seep out indirectly and in opportune moments until they’ve been expressed.

Ask yourself, am I am comfortable with emotions? Get curious. Consider that being comfortable and literate about your emotions could actually be more efficient that suppressing them. As Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor points out in her 90 second rule, emotional responses generate chemical reactions. For those chemicals to totally flush out of the body it takes less than 90 seconds.

Action Step:

Next time you’re really angry, rather than ignore or repress the anger, try one of these three neurologically-sound shift moves to express the anger:

  • Walk around, stomp your feet, shake the anger out.

  • Inhaling, picture your anger contracting into a tight ball; exhaling, picture it expanding and diffusing; repeat until you feel the anger loosen.

  • Draw a visual of what your anger looks like.

If you like this and are interested in your – or your team’s – leadership development contact us to discuss how we can help you: nancy@craftedleadership.com | melanie@craftedleadership.com | julianna@craftedleadership.com or 303-709-3145.



303.709.3145 | 801.230.0983


PO Box 521213

Salt Lake City, UT 84152


  • LinkedIn - White Circle
  • Facebook - White Circle
  • Twitter - White Circle