Apparently, I leak quite badly in meetings...

First published 5th September 2012

Apparently, I leak quite badly in meetings.

My new colleague, Becky Waring, is a great observer of human nature and revealed this fact to me after a recent meeting. Thankfully she wasn't alerting me to an embarrassing medical condition but to the fact that I appear to be one of those people whose emotional state is easily read and even felt by those around me.

I've always known that this was an issue - I have never been able to play any kind of card game that requires bluffing and I can't lie for toffee. It's nice to finally have a 'proper' diagnosis of my poor poker face. It also explains, for example, why, even if I try to stay out of discussions with which I disagree but have no legitimate part of, I tend to get drawn in - people, it seems, sense my discomfort and want to know its source.

As a leader, ought one try to develop a better defence against being read so easily in meetings? Or is it better that everyone knows how you are feeling? Certainly, from what I've read on the subject,it seems that people who show their emotions more readily seem to be emotionally more healthy than those who repress their feelings. I suspect it takes a lot more emotional energy to repress what one is feeling and so if you are a naturally leaky person, you should expect repressed meetings to be harder work.

Or maybe like a lot of things in life, we should learn to manage the implications of who we are better rather than pretend to be someone we're not. So I find that, because people can guess when I'm bored very easily, I have to work harder on being interested in whatever I am doing, rather than working on hiding the fact that I'm bored.

This is particularly important when listening to people's stories.- I am convinced that one of the greatest gifts we can ever give to someone is our interest in what interests them. Similarly, if I am indulging in one of those emotions that Paul warns us against so often in his letters - jealousy, envy, bitterness, anger - then I need to address the underlying issue, with God's grace, and not just try to hide what I'm feeling. Like most Christians, I'm still working on this one..... ,

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