How do stressful situations impact you? If you’re under fire at work, do others “feel” it and avoid interactions with you?

Self control is important. The ability to manage our feelings instead of allowing our feelings to manage us is beneficial for everyone, especially so for leaders.

Having the ability to feel and then respond with purpose, while remaining composed, is what we strive for daily and during difficult situations. If a person lets us down and we are angry, we need to have the skill to respond appropriately rather than blowing up or raising our voice.

Leadership is a matter of having people look at you and gain confidence, seeing how you react. If you’re in control, they’re in control.
–Tom Landry

We suggest becoming very aware of our emotions, and what triggers them, so we are better positioned to remain in control. This means becoming familiar with an entire spectrum of feelings including happiness, anger, sadness, loneliness, rejection, pride, shame, peace, etc.

And it means knowing how to diffuse the emotions that will not serve us well.

The more control and awareness we have, the better the leader we can be, now, and in the future. An example may be when someone did something we didn’t expect and we overreacted. Some of us may even yell or scream at our antagonist, which more likely than not puts us in disfavor with those that witnessed it.

Once composure is “lost,” the damage is done and may not be recovered from (even when composure is restored). We all have hot buttons and we all know individuals that seem to have a “gift” to light those buttons up. To excel in leadership we need to be in control of our emotions at all times. (It’s certainly easier when times are calm and steady but may challenge us in difficult and turbulent/crisis situations).

Common Circumstances That Lend Themselves to Control Issues

  • Surprises
  • Unexpected change
  • Incorrect/incomplete information
  • Missed deliverables
  • Insubordination
  • Deadlines, date changes
  • Lack of commitment, buy-in or urgency
  • Lack of team effort or no accountability

We first must understand our feelings and the response, (perhaps an unhealthy one), that desperately wants out. Instead, we can calmly think about a response that would help us deal with the problem at hand. This may require postponing a response which is fine (rarely do we HAVE to have an immediate response).

It can be challenging to remain cool, calm, and collect, but as a Chinese proverb says: Forego your anger for a moment and save yourself a hundred days of trouble.

It takes effort, but it’s worth it! What do you do to maintain your composure?

Here’s a Wealth of Information

Each week we’ll partner with QwikCoach and provide the ability for you to reinforce or expand your knowledge of a prior topic.

Last week’s tip focused on Conflict.

Go to QwikTips to read more! There are two different versions–one for visitors and one for licensed QwikCoach users.

Help turn your leadership knowledge into leadership action!