Leaders Deal with their Dark Side 

Leaders Deal with their Dark Side 

Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts.”
Proverbs 4:23 (
The Message)


​Imagine there’s an open wound. The skin around the wound doesn’t heal properly and the scarred tissue is extra sensitive. Every time that area is touched, it feels like the wound tears open again. For many, this represents their emotional sensitivity and how they deal with their leadership and sales world every day. 


It’s as if their emotional nerve endings are raw and exposed. Although they pretend like they have it all under control, it almost always impacts their leadership and sales potential negatively. They have difficulty remaining calm and retaining solid reasoning skills when meeting when dealing with obstacles. In our sales research, we’ve documented that Emotional Involvement reduces effectiveness by 35%.
Deal with your Dark Side is the fifth action step to sharpen self-listening 

Here are two signs I use to help identify an emerging leader or salesperson who’s struggling with this issue.

  • Over-reaction. Reactions don’t fit the situation and are counter productive. For example, a sales person may talk incessantly during a selling situation (when they are supposed to be asking questions and listening). In some situations, the reactions are too intense, i.e. sadness becomes overwhelming despair and anger quickly turns to rage.

  • Under-reaction. Salespeople often confess to me that their mind freezes when they are in high stress situations.  It’s as if their mind goes blank.  Again, counter productive in most selling situations! In other situations, feelings of shame and guilt are bottled up and they don’t respond or talk about feelings at all. 

Use These Tips To Help Young Leaders Deal With Their Dark Side

Oftentimes, young leaders don’t experience any kind of failure until they get knee deep in their first real job. That is a time when a season leader can step in and help them develop healthy patterns.

With sharp self-listening skills, one is able to identify areas that need attention.  Our “dark side” is not something to be ashamed of, nor is it a static condition that will never leave. Instead, it can be a journey toward emotional, intellectual, and spiritual well-being.

  • Listen Actively. Be interested and ask insightful questions to help those you coach to gain a better understanding of themselves. Both introverts and extroverts benefit from a wise, listening ear. Who’s been your listening ear throughout your leadership and sales journey?

  • Offer help. You may not be able to solve their problem, but you can help them get through a difficult time by offering friendship or practical assistance in other areas of their lives. What resources have been most helpful for you?

The goal is to cultivate emotional hardiness and stability. Then they will be leaders and sales professional with the capacity for processing life’s issues and complex relationships with clarity.  These are the kind of leaders whose presence might diffuse future conflict when it matters most.
Encourage Millennials to become increasingly aware of their emotional wounds, their “Dark Side.” This Emotional Control will produce results for them personally and professionally.
Dakota Way Leadership question: Which emotions do you think have a negative effect on Next Gen leader’s potential?
Dakota Way Leadership lesson: Strong leaders are aware of their emotions and deal with them in a healthy way.

Sales Leadership: ​Recruiting the “right” sales talent is a requirement for predictable growth. Yet, it’s often excruciatingly frustrating. Why? Because 80% of the sales applicants lack the skills or motivation to hunt, prospect for new business and land new accounts. Check out my newest book, How to Hire Superior Sales DNA, and bring clarity to customizing your sales recruiting process. 

​​© Copyright Danita Bye, 2016
  • Erik Beckler
    Posted at 11:10h, 20 June Reply

    Danita, in my basketball coaching as well as in my Afila Group roundtable, I regularly talk about how stress changes the way we perform. We make different decisions and behave differently when stress, more specifically stress we are not resilient enough to manage, comes up on us.
    You mention leaders in their first real job face this. Exactly. They are already stressed from being in their first real job and are using their resources to cope with that. Add on something that may seem innocuous to that and they lose their ability to function well.
    Your tips are very much on point. I’d add on another. Talking about how stress and resiliency affect us (you mention stress never leaves us), can help that leader recognize how they can manage their resiliency on the fly.
    Thanks for the post.

    • Danita Bye
      Posted at 04:58h, 26 June Reply

      Good insight, Erik, on how stress changes the way we perform. Powerful tip to help us manage resiliency on the fly. Looking forward to more insights, Erik!

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