Leading with Emotion

By Angela Petro, Owner & CEO

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We have written a lot of blogs during our 20 Years Fresh campaign but this one is going to be very different.  We recently had some sad things happen at our company and in searching for how to process my own feelings and still lead our team to get through a tough time during an incredibly busy season, I have engaged in a lot of self-reflection.

I am an emotional person.  I have worked hard over the years to become a leader who people see as calm, not throwing the team into a tailspin based on how I feel in the moment and, generally, I try to be someone that is considered pretty steady (if animated).  Over time I have learned not to overshare, to be vulnerable when necessary but shield others from my own stress about the one million things that keep a business owner up at night. It will always be a struggle, but I know I’ve improved.

Today, I find my company faced with the saddest of life events and I’ve been forced into a new role. I now must lead emotionally with intent

On September 14th, one of our teammates came to work while not feeling well.  He finished a shift that ended very late and during the early morning hours, he suffered a heart attack in his sleep and died.  Dez was beloved by everyone.  He was the guy with the jokes.  He could keep everyone laughing, even when they were exhausted after a long event.  He is smiling in every picture and video clip ever taken of him.  Six hours after I heard the news I found myself in a car full of food and drinks, gift cards for groceries and so much love, sent from the Together & Company family to Dez’ family.  The next day was spent showing our love to another teammate who had just lost his mother to a long battle with Cancer.  Then, coming back to Together & Company, I shared moments of sadness with folks who were just getting the news about Dez as they arrived to work an event.

As I drove from one family to the other, I reflected on how a role changes as the owner of a company.

I realized that what “company” means has changed for me.  It used to be the jobs booked, money juggled and fires put out.  I don’t know when it officially happened but my thoughts led me to understand that Together & Company has achieved the highest nirvana of small business.  It is 100% about the people…the family we have created and bonds that exist far beyond my reach.  The love exists outside of my sphere of influence.  That is a beautiful and awe-inspiring realization.

I realized that a big part of my job is now to be my authentic "emotional" self.  This has allowed me to be there for people making sure they all know that I'm here and I care.  I'm happy with this new role and I'm happy that leading through emotion has helped me, and helped my team, as we go through this very hard time.