Here are a few rules for how not to use emotional intensity;
1. Don't use emotional intensity when the receiver has no opportunity to respond with their behavior. If they screwed up and made a mistake, but what is done is done, and they can't do anything about it, yelling and screaming moves from motivating to humiliating. Odds are they know they screwed up, embarrassing them won't fix the problem. It just makes you feel better for the moment. In reality you're just embarrassing yourself however.
2. Don't use emotional intensity to demoralize or insult someone. There is never room or cause to insult, make fun of, or attack somebody personally. As a leader you may need to criticize behavior or decisions, but never the person. You will lose your team immediately if you start insulting them.
3. Don't use emotional intensity often. You will become "that boss" that is always bringing too much drama to the office. Like the boy who cried wolf, you will be written off and blown off when you are trying to motivate your subordinates.
Here's when and how emotional intensity can be valuable;
1. Use emotional intensity to motivate when the person has a chance to respond. Now it is more of a pep talk than a scolding. You can be to the point, and point out unsatisfactory behavior or results, but then you need to send them out on a mission.
2. Let your anger and emotion shine through when someone needs to understand how important an issue is to you. If they are blowing off the assignment or initiative, it may be valuable to help them understand how important it is.
3. If you do choose to let some emotional intensity into the situation, the best thing you can do is walk right out of the office, and get your hands dirty with the person. This will demonstrate that you're not better or view yourself as superior. It will also diffuse any resentment or anger from the subordinate. Gordan Ramsey is the master of this. In almost every episode he will dress down the kitchen staff about how disgusting the kitchen is. Then he will grab a mop and get his hands dirty along side them.
So beware of letting your emotions get the best of you. If in doubt the best choice is to approach an interaction with the intention of eliminating personal intensity. Ultimately emotional intensity is an external motivator and left alone will not sustain change in a person. There must be an internal motivator as well or else change will short circuit.
What do you think? Ever been the victim of emotional intensity from a boss? What would you do different?