Why Leaders Need To Manage The Emotional Side Of Setbacks

When it comes to managing setbacks, the typical approach focuses on discovering what went wrong to prevent a similar issue from arising. But what we often overlook is the emotional context of managing setbacks, something I explore through a personal example in this latest edition of Leadership Espresso Shot on my leadership podcast, “Leadership Biz Cafe”.

Now there’s no question many of us are grappling with how to manage and lead in this unprecedented time of uncertainty. It’s certainly unprecedented in how practically every industry and type of work is grappling with some form of setback and conditions that make it difficult to make concrete plans for how to get back on track.

It’s not surprising then why there’s growing concern and wary, not just over when the COVID-19 pandemic will end, but how the idea of us all merely being on pause is more wishful thinking than a realistic understanding of the long-term impact and fallout from this global health crisis, but economically and socially.

That’s why as leaders, it’s important that we not only manage expectations – and provide clarity on what people can and should expect – but that we’re also paying attention to the emotional context we’re creating around those expectations.

In this latest edition of my ongoing Leadership Espresso Shot series, I share a personal story of something that happened to my wife and I many years ago and what it reveals about the nature of how we perceive people and events and the role our emotional state plays in shaping those understandings and expectations.

In light of the numerous setbacks many of us are grappling with right now, I think this story and its message is quite timely and will leave you with much food for thought. And if you enjoy it, please do us a favour and help support this show by sharing it with your colleagues and employees.


Tanveer Naseer is an award-winning and internationally-acclaimed leadership writer and keynote speaker. He is also the Principal and Founder of Tanveer Naseer Leadership, a leadership coaching firm that works with executives and managers to help them develop practical leadership and team-building competencies to guide organizational growth and development. Tanveer’s writings and insights on leadership and workplace interactions have been featured in a number of prominent media and organization publications, including Forbes, Fast Company, Inc Magazine, Canada’s national newspaper “The Globe and Mail”, The Economist Executive Education Navigator, and the Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center.

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