Change may be the context for leadership and relative stability the context for management. Leaders define reality (DePree, 1989) and managers sseemingly deal with facts. Leaders provide vision, the new reality, and managers produce the details. Leaders navigate uncertainty while managers mitigate risk. Perhaps it follows then that managers use logic and leaders play in the domain of our emotions.
Change involves uncertainty which builds anxiety that stimulates our emotions. When leaders promote change associated with a new vision for a new reality, leaders need to remember the uncertainty, anxiety, and emotional components of change. As we watch states like Wisconsin (others will follow) and nations like Bahrain, Yemen, Egypt, Tunisia, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kenya, Uganda, Ivory Coast, and Sierra Leone (with more to come) address change or its possibility, if not promise, a critical point to watch will be how leaders address the emotional response that arises on all sides of the discussion, debate, or battle for or against a new vision for a new reality.
Some leaders may stimulate emotions like anger, fear, and resentment. Other leaders may provoke joy, hope, and courage. Who does what will depend on the leader and the target audience and, of course, the particular vision that leader champions.