One of the toughest aspects in leading is in learning to control your emotions. Our emotions are the things that drives our behaviour and while on the one hand, they can be good, the opposite can also be true.
There are times when you are in a great mood, and things come together really easy. But, have you ever had something happen, and the next thing you knew you were writing an email response, getting ready to launch a grenade that was destine to blow up the world, with no real perspective in that moment, except to make sure you were being heard?
We all have been caught up in a moment, such as this. But of course on the backside, we generally realize it wasn’t such a big deal, regretting the email and sometimes having to deal with some of the carnage, we wish we hadn’t created.
So what happens?
What happens is, in that moment is your emotions take over. As you interpret the information in front of you, you believe that someone or something has violated you whether that is your beliefs, your values or you. Your emotions take over and you react.
Most leaders, put a lot of pressure on themselves and their teams, when it comes to performing. If there is anything that goes wrong, they see themselves as the ones to blame. It is either they didn’t do a good job, or that they didn’t do a good job in leading their people to do a good job.
That feeling of pressure, can ramp up any other emotions at the time; fear, frustration, anger, sadness, etc. Sad to say, but generally when those negative emotions get the best of you, no matter how smart you are, the logical side of the amazing leader you are, goes out the window.
So how do you control your emotions?
Here are a couple of things that I have found to be important:
- Get enough sleep – Until the last couple of years, this has been often times overlooked, however there is a tonne of research that talks about how we all perform better when we get enough sleep. You want to see how sleep impacts a person, try using logic on a child who hasn’t had enough sleep. You might think as an adult you are prone to the emotional outbursts of a child, but don’t fool yourself.
- Have an out picture – When you don’t know where you are going or what you are looking to accomplish in the big picture, you can get caught up in the minutia of a moment. Nothing in this moment is as good or as bad as you might think it is. Stay focused and confident in your goals and you will realize that little obstacles that might get in your way, really aren’t that big.
- Stop the emotional loop – When you react, it is generally because you are caught in an emotional loop. The more you think about it, the more the emotion is stirred up and the more you think about it. Build a strategy to stop the cycle. Examples; sing a song in your head, pull out your phone and play a game you like, recite the ABCs, dance, breath in a specific pattern. The thing is to find something that you struggle to do at the same time as you are thinking about an issue. It is hard to recite the ABCs and think through why you should be mad at the same time.
When your emotions are in charge, rarely is your logical brain. Leading is about being able to take on those things coming at you, even when they are unexpected and making sense of it all. When you logically think through it, there is always a solution right in front of you, when you can to see it. Being in charge of your emotions, guarantees you will see it.