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Ep. 84: 7 Essential emotions for Leading positive change with Reiner Lomb

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Reiner Lomb is the founder of BoomerangCoach, an executive coaching firm specialising in leadership and career development, innovation & transformational change. Before becoming a coach, Reiner had a 30+ year career in technology, started and developed software businesses and led leadership development. Reiner is the author of the book ASPIRE: Seven Essential Emotions for Leading Positive Change. No Matter Where You Are. 


Podcast Episode Summary

Much has been written about Leadership Effectives and the behaviours needed to succeed. What is often missing is the discourse on emotions and how they drive leadership behaviours. Reiner shares through his experience & stories the enormous potential for positive change which he believes is achieved by understanding 7 essential emotions and how they marry with 7 essential leadership behaviours. 


Points raised across the podcast conversation: 

  • Reiner is the product of a multi-cultural household and identifies as a next generation post war person. 
  • He grew up in the Western part of a divided Germany through the cold war and felt the heartache over his country’s role in the Holocaust and World War II. 
  • He believes the large challenges we face in the world, climate change, social, economic, political can and need to be figured out collaboratively 
  • Reiner has been living in the USA for over 30 years and believes his adopted country is divided by emotions such as hatred, fear, resentment with mass shootings and a big political divide. 
  • Passion & Purpose motivated Reiner to move into the realm of Leadership Development. He always loved learning for himself and gets great satisfaction seeing others grow. 
  • His mission today is to mobilise leaders to help create a sustainable future for all. 
  • Aspire is one of the Leadership Development models that Reiner employs with his clients 
  • The name of his company Boomerang was a metaphor that captured his wish for people to return to their true passion and purpose 
  • He formulated a neat framework, a pyramid of 7 essential Leadership behaviours that people will readily recognise, behaviours that are driven by 7 essential emotions. 
  • Understanding these 7 emotions in a granular way can help further a Leaders effectiveness. 
  • Emotions are a key domain of learning that are the least understood and developed. 
  • We as humans are always in a mix of emotions and by becoming familiar with our internal states we can self-regulate for the kinds of conversations and actions we want to have in the world. 
  • Emotions then are gateways to effective conversations and equally barriers to the same conversations if held in an emotional field that does not serve. 
  • Empathy, Compassion, and Interest are the foundational emotions that drive Care, Serving and Understanding
  • From this foundational platform a Leader can vision, understanding the needs of his stakeholders and people. To vision a leader needs to be optimistic about the future and the kind of future he wishes to create. 
  • Emotions like resentment, resignation keep us mentally and energetically stuck in the past and do not serve when we are trying to Lead. 
  • Inspiration on the other hand mobilizes people to co-ordinate action and achieve realisable visions. 
  • To co-create a future in the world we live requires collaboration and that is fuelled by the emotion of trust. 
  • Projects and plans to proceed no matter how well co-ordinated meet with obstacles and adversity and to survive both requires resilience. Resilience is supported by the emotion of positivity. 
  • Negativity is counterproductive to resilience. The more negative the leader, the environment, and the culture the less resilience is available to the organisation 
  • Positivity is a palette of emotions including optimism, interest, inspiration, joy, awe, gratitude, and hopefulness. 
  • Leaders are well versed in the Leadership competencies required to lead what is missing is the discourse on emotions. 
  • Reiner shares a powerful story from his client relations where he helped a client recognise through his storytelling that he was living in a mood of resignation. Reiner was able to share the impact of living in resignation. He also shared that there is not a straight line between resignation and optimism, the gateway is acceptance. 
  • To become versed in emotional literacy takes time, patience, and practice. Reiner suggests choosing one of the 7 emotions to start, maybe one that could have the biggest impact to a person’s leadership.
  • As a coach it is important to put language to what a person is experiencing. Similarly, a coach needs to employ interest, empathy, and silence to allow what needs to be spoken. 
  • Part of the learning of emotions involves understanding the distinctions between each. The more granular the understanding and appreciation for the difference between each emotion the greater the possibility for appropriate action.
  • Understanding is often thwarted around a team table by the need to have the right answer and quickest response born out of our educative system. 
  • In organisational life we often do not get rewarded for asking the right questions or for spending the time to have a real and generative conversation between peers on teams. 
  • We need to move from the predominant focus of “me” or self-interest to “we” 
  • We must cultivate a mindset of “we” on teams 
  • To do so we need to appreciate that everyone is responsible for the success of the team, its climate and what is possible 
  • The team leader can do much to encourage dialogue, to mine the aspirations of each member of the team and to make sure they align with the team’s vision 
  • Trust is very complex emotion. We must understand what we mean by trust. What dimension of trust, sincerity, care, reliability, competence is being affected on the team and with & between whom? 
  • A Leader plays a large role in facilitating trust between team members especially in circumstances where teams are short lived, are remote or in a hybrid configuration. 
  • I tried to share an example of a client who in a team meeting expressed guilt and was met with another colleague who expressed anxiety to get on with the work at hand. I clumsily said “Grief” to Reiner instead of Guilt. My apologies 
  • The learning that Reiner shared, however, to decode the emotion of grief in this instance remains. 
  • A formula if you will, is to attend to the emotion, allow it to be heard with the attendant thoughts etc. This can sometimes be enough. Choose the desired emotion to move towards. This may or may not be possible. Sometimes a better strategy might be to simply to attend to emotion expressed and to help the client process that same emotion. 
  • What is not acceptable is to skip the emotional discourse. 
  • Grief for example is an emotion that spells loss, sadness for a person or situation lost. For Reiner it calls for resilience to be able to balance the need to continue living, serving, be in relation with others and managing the emotion of grief. In Reiner’s case he sourced positive emotions 
  • Do not confuse sourcing or resourcing positive emotions like joy, interest, hope etc for toxic positivity where you supress negative emotions 
  • If negative emotions surface, allow them, try to hear the story that accompanies the emotion and try and identify the source and corresponding need. 
  • Reiner shares a story from his work that explores his use of his model Aspire and how he supports leaders become familiar and fluent with the 7 emotions used with the 7 essential leadership competencies. 
  • Reiner’s favourite leadership lesson extols the virtue of care. He encourages listeners to really identify their “why” a passion that will fuel purpose. 
  • Pick what you care about and develop your leadership to support that passion. 


Thank you 


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