Emotions And Success: Can Women Be Great Leaders?

by Paul Hudson

Many of you have probably heard the argument that women are less capable of being in positions of power — in positions of leadership — than men. The argument is that women are more emotional than men and therefore are less capable of controlling their emotions. I believe this to be a load of crap. I cannot argue against the fact that women are innately capable of experiencing greater emotion than men — it’s a fact and I’m jealous because of it.

However, believing that because a person is more emotional than another makes them less capable of holding important positions within a company or government is sexist, outdating thinking — not to be had by our generation. What is it exactly about emotions that make them so unwanted in the people we wish to lead us? Why is it that we view emotion as weakness?

There are several reasons why being an emotional person is seen as being a negative characteristic in terms of the characteristics of an ideal candidate for a role of leadership. To start, emotions have a nasty tendency of clouding our thoughts; they take the place of logic. A good leader is thought to be a logical thinker.

He or she must be able to look at things the way they are — as facts. A leader must be able to make an unbiased decision that benefits the greater good. Having an emotional personality makes it more difficult to see things impartially — it makes it more difficult to see the reality of things. When we get emotional, we often mistake it for passion. We believe that because we are being moved by such and such that such and such must be the correct answer, the right way to go.

This is why after getting into a heated argument, it is best for us to take some time to cool off before making a rash decision. This is also why many of us like to “sleep on” a decision before making it, allowing us to get a fresh, impartial perspective of the situation and the results of our decision that we are about to make. It is one thing to make emotionally fueled decisions for oneself; making such decisions for others as their representative is wrong and will often lead to the suffering of others.

Allowing our emotions to play a part in our decision-making is always a mistake. No matter what the decision — even those of the heart — would be better made once the intensity of the emotions have subsided. That’s the funny thing about emotions — they come, they go and no two are ever the same. A single emotion changes and morphs each second that the emotion passes.


Emotions are the result of our response to both the outside world and the way that we view it within. It plays off the present, past memories and our hopes for the future. Because of this, they change almost as soon as they occur. They are in a sense the most unreliable parts of our psyche that have the most intense effects on us.

Emotions not only cloud decision-making, but they cloud the understanding that we have of any situation. Emotions act as colored shades that are thrown over our eyes and all other senses. When we find ourselves in a state of emotion — whether intense or subtle — the way that we see the world is different. The way that we experience things and the way that we rationalize experiences are different than what they would be were we to experience them in a state of emotionless serenity.

Emotions are the reason for some of the biggest mistakes made in history and are the cause of some of the most catastrophic results the world has ever seen. Crimes of passion tend to be the most gruesome and clearly the most unnecessary. Emotions are both our best and worst friends; they make life more colorful, but make some of our decisions dumb decisions.

So women experience more emotion than men do — fine. But this does not mean that they cannot control their emotions any less than men. Anyone can learn to control their emotions if they so wish it, but it does take time and practice. There are methods of meditation that help calm the mind and the body when such emotions present themselves, making us either high-strung and stressed or emotionally incapable of making sound decisions.

Knowing how to separate your emotions from the logic in front of you will not only better your decision-making skills, but also better your leadership skills. Logic is a leader’s most important tool in his or her toolbox. Logic allows us to see the world as an action, reaction, cause and effect relationship. It allows us to view the world in its simplest form, unclouded and untainted by emotions. Emotions can be your best friends, but they can also be your worst enemies.

A leader must know when the right time and place is for emotions to play a part in their lives and must come to realize when they are experiencing emotions that may negatively affect their judgment. It’s not a matter of sex — it’s a matter of self-control. From my experiences, women excel in this area.

Photo credit: WENN