The Importance of Emotional Leadership

Attending an educational conference over a long weekend can be equally tiring and inspiring. Last month, I attended the International Enneagram Conference in Long Beach, CA. One of the most compelling workshop experiences explained the Brahma Viharas, also known as the Four Divine Emotions. The Danish facilitator Fleming Christiansen, founder of Think About It, applied this model to effective leadership.

Brahma Viharas are the meditative states, thoughts, and actions cultivated in Buddhist meditation. Essentially, they are the positive emotions and that are productive and helpful to anyone, irrelevant to religious affiliation. The idea is those who cultivate the brahma viharas are guaranteed happiness. Those who further cultivate equanimity may reach insightful states and wisdom of enlightenment experiences.

The Four Divine Emotions

1. Loving-kindness (Pali: Metta)
2. Compassion (Pali: Karuna)
3. Joy with others (Pali: Mudita)
4. Equanimity (Pali: Upekkha)


is a soft, affection and care for others and yourself. It is not a hard, romantic type of love and not a love that includes extreme attachment or controlling feelings.


is like an open heart that cares for everyone. It includes empathy, being able to see the other person’s position and caring for and about them.

Joy with Others

is sometimes is called sympathetic joy or appreciative joy. It is the ability to be happy when you see others happy. Their joy becomes your joy as you welcome less suffering and happiness of others.


is the balanced state of mind. It is the middle way state of mind that is neither clinging nor pushing away.

The job of leaders to create more leaders. As Christiansen explained, “If you don’t have a dream, you have to be a resource for those who do.” By remaining aware and practicing these essential qualities of emotional leadership, you have the ability to facilitate a living and working atmosphere that is positive, authentic and enjoyable.

All you have to do is remain present, aware and simply take each moment as it comes. No doubt, this cultivates authentic connection between people and ultimately a healthy environment.


With this short, simple (and free!) guided meditation.