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RBF-Resting Boss Face: De-numbing for Intimidating Leaders

During a challenging team moment, have you been busted with a “Resting Boss Face”?

It's not just about the RBF face but the emotional numbing beneath it.

It’s time to de-numb before affecting your leadership and organization.

As an executive coach, I observe leaders in action during their meetings.

Here's a scene I once witnessed: a project was spiraling, discussions were heating up, and the team anxiously awaited the leader's reaction.

However, they were met with daunting silence and a poker face, an "RBF," as I call it - Resting Boss Face.

And I'll tell you a secret: that was me some time ago. I had a knack for showing up with an "RBF," especially when deep in thought or under stress. (I talk about it in my book)

Trust me; people note it before you even utter your first words.

These are moments of emotional numbing, an unconscious pattern of defensiveness we retreat into when under pressure.

This attitude could create rifts within your team and impact collaboration. If you find yourself regularly shutting away your feelings, it could:

  • Erode trust,

  • Discourage open communication,

  • Stifle innovation,

  • And ultimately, affect business performance.

Moreover, as an Alpha Leader, continuously alienating yourself from your emotions can stunt your personal and professional growth.

Towards Acknowledgement and Emotional Wholeness

To combat this emotional numbing, start by acknowledging it as a learned behavior. When you feel that wave of disconnection, recognize it, and trace it back to its roots.

Here are some steps for de-numbing:

  1. Acknowledge the Numbness: Recognize when you're retreating into your emotional shell. Try saying, "Ah, there's that 'numbing monster' again."

  2. Ask someone to remind you: Nothing is better than having someone you trust to let you know when you have that RBF on.

  3. Unearth the Roots: Take a moment to delve into your past and understand where this behavior stems from. I promise you; there is a pattern here.

  4. Allow Yourself to Feel: Permit yourself to experience your emotions, even if they're uncomfortable. Anger, frustration, and disappointment are valid feelings, and constructively sharing them is okay.

  5. Once You Know: you can’t unknow. With time and patience, you’ll quickly catch these responses and move to a different attitude.

So here's an invitation to reflect:

The transformative power of de-numbing can lead to deeper connections, healthier work environments, and authentic leadership.

As you embrace your emotions in all their complexities, you truly embrace your humanity. And as I mentioned in my book, to be human is to be a verb; it's the action of becoming human.

Remember, it's okay to show emotions.

I still have to catch my "RBF" under stress.

If I can, so can you.



You're an Alpha Leader - brilliant, driven, formidable. But what about the emotional landscape of leadership? It can sometimes strain relationships and team dynamics.

Here is where I come in.

Together, we'll shape you into an Empathic Alpha Leader, where strength meets understanding, and decisiveness pairs with empathy.

Start your journey to empathic leadership today.



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