As project leader you must spread positive energy in the project

04. October 2018John Ryding Olsson

“Keep your fears to yourself but share your courage with others.” Robert Louis Stevenson 

We are driven by our emotions, but emotions can be managed in order to create joy and enthusiasm.

We look for purpose in impressions. The world becomes comprehensible through our thoughts but we react on emotions. The cognitive diamond shows that our emotions influence thoughts, behaviour and senses.  Emotions are quickly perceived whereas our thoughts react slower. All emotions are combined from Ekman’s basic emotions of which only one is positive, one is neutral and the rest are negative. If we have both negative emotions and negative thoughts our gut is going to ache. On the other hand we can use our thoughts and behaviour to influence our emotions.

Emotional energy is powerful. People actually die for what they feel is right! Negative emotions are very costly because they drain energy reserves and they are contagious.

Experiments with actors show that there is no physiological difference between acting angry and being angry. If we are to do our best we have to have access to positive emotions:

  • If one of your team members are irritating you can note positive facts about him or her. Think about these notes the next time you work together and your behaviour will change.
  • Be aware of what makes your employees happy and make those activities a priority.
  • Make positive lists describing the positive aspects of tasks which generally just aren’t a lot of fun.
  • Give appreciative feedback and bring about an appreciative culture.
  • Good relations are a shot in the arm. Bad relations are poisonous for the atmosphere.
  • Focus on possibilities rather than problems.
  • If you experience anxiety, your breathing will become shallow and fast. So breathe calmly and deeply in stressful situations.
  • Use music correctly. If you come home all stressed out then heavy metal is probably not the best choice if you want to relax.

“A leader is a dealer in hope” Napoleon

Paul Ekman(born February 15, 1934)

He is an American psychologist and professor at the University of California, San Francisco who is a pioneer in the study of emotions and their relation to facial expressions. He has created an “atlas of emotions” with more than ten thousand facial expressions, and has gained a reputation as “the best human lie detector in the world”.

He was ranked 59th out of the 100 most cited psychologists of the twentieth century.


Handbook of Cognition and Emotion (Sussex, UK John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., 1999)

The Nature of Emotion: Fundamental Questions (with R. Davidson, Oxford University Press, 1994) ISBN 0-19-508944-8

Nonverbal messages: Cracking the Code ISBN 978-0-9915636-3-0

Emotional Awareness: Overcoming the Obstacles to Psychological Balance and Compassion (Times Books, 2008) ISBN 0-8050-8712-5

Unmasking the Face ISBN 1-883536-36-7

Emotions Revealed: Recognizing Faces and Feelings to Improve Communication and Emotional Life (Times Books, 2003) ISBN 0-8050-7516-X

Telling Lies: Clues to Deceit in the Marketplace, Politics, and Marriage (W. W. Norton & Company, 1985) ISBN 0-393-32188-6

What the Face Reveals (with Rosenberg, E. L., Oxford University Press, 1998) ISBN 0-19-510446-3

Darwin and Facial Expression: A Century of Research in Review ISBN 0-12-236750-2

Facial Action Coding System/Investigator’s ISBN 99936-26-61-9

Why Kids Lie: How Parents Can Encourage Truthfulness (Penguin, 1991) ISBN 0-14-014322-X

Handbook of Methods in Nonverbal Behavior Research ISBN 0-521-28072-9

Face of Man ISBN 0-8240-7130-1

Emotion in the Human Face ISBN 0-08-016643-1


"Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you'll start having positive results."

- Willie Nelson

Who is airborn leadership?

As a project manager I have always lacked a platform where I could click in and get inspiration, relevant knowledge and concrete tools, regardless of time and place. A wireless toolbox where knowledge came to me through the air. A help that could give me a much needed boost in my current challenge.

You have never been more important as a project manager. Projects are the engine in developing a better business, new products, improvements in society and the global transformation to sustainable energy and production. Your leadership is therefore crucial. As a leader and project manager, you are the tool that creates the results.

I hope airborn leadership can be your gateway to knowledge within project management, no matter what journey you are on.

John Ryding Olsson Founder & author
John Ryding Olsson Founder & author John Ryding Olsson

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