“Affective leaders,” said the grizzled face set atop an extended neck, his long nose a prop for spectacles that half-hid bulging dark eyes, his business suit creased from a long meeting, “use their heart to see beyond the words.”

“I’m not sure I understand,” I responded. I continued to hold the paper in my hands, a half-hearted defense against what I could feel was coming but had no defense against. I joked,

“Aren’t meetings supposed to be Effective, rather than Affective?”

“Meetings aren’t exercises in objectivity,” he replied, his Adam’s apple bobbing up and down as he took a swallow of water, the bottle clasped in long, spindly white fingers, “They’re a conversation between human beings trying to understand who they are together.” He turned his soft gaze on me, leaning forward, his stooped narrow shoulders poking through the coat that he’d wrapped around his lean frame.
“Meetings are effective only when we consider the interplay of emotions, can rely on each other without fear, trust that the intent of our words will be accepted as gospel truth. When I walk into a meeting, I’m more interested in what is unsaid.”

“Unsaid?” I prompted at his pause. “You mean, the subtext of any conversation? Isn’t that a bit exhausting? What happened with being professional and business-like, setting aside all that encroaching emotional baggage you have to avoid tripping over? Isn’t that what we have to do as administrators and leaders? Help focus a laser beam of on what needs to happen and get the results.”

“While you may certainly get results,” he chuckled in reply, “they won’t be the results you desire for the organization. When you began writing this blog entry, you pictured me like an ostrich and began writing. Now, it’s you that risks behaving like an ostrich, avoiding the truth of Pete Reilly’s blog entry. Affect determines effect…until you embrace THAT, your effect will be minimal.” He bobs his head, his white eyebrows glistening in the lamplight.


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