Back in my corporate days, I wasn’t always good at hiding my disappointment or dissatisfaction. It’s awful to think back on it, but I just couldn’t seem to help myself. I lacked the ability to properly manage my emotions.
The ability to self-manage is a component of emotional intelligence. Think of the leader who loses his temper with colleagues, or appears to lack integrity or ethics, the one who doesn’t take responsibility when things don’t go well, and the person who shows up unprepared for meetings. Or even the one who wears their emotions all over their face. While perhaps showing disappointment isn’t the greatest of management sins, it has a ripple effect that can disengage and demotivate a team, and hamper your ability to lead. I know that now but I wish I had understood it then.
We’ve all had some experience of these behaviors and perhaps, even been the perpetrator, so you probably understand that a lack of self-management can be limiting. Yet the types of leaders we need to take us through the pandemic and beyond are resilient, creative, and innovative, and take the initiative to adapt to changing circumstances. These are all traits associated with strong self-management.
If you recognize yourself as someone who could stand to control their emotions a bit better, improve self-discipline, or be more dependable, there are many ways to strengthen your self-management muscle. Here are some of them.
Self-control and self-discipline
Explore your triggers. Notice what causes negative reactions from you and keep a journal of them. Think about why these particular things have the effect they do. For example, are there themes that emerge that you can tie to a significant event in your life? Once you build awareness around your triggers, you are more likely to recognize them before you inappropriately react.
Solicit feedback. Ask employees, peers, and managers regularly. It doesn’t always have to be formal. A simple, “How am I doing?” when asked often, offers people the opportunity to offer their impressions. Your bigger challenge is to let your defenses down and listen openly, with an ear to improve.
Choose how to respond. Take a breath. Take time to consider the intention behind whatever it is that you are reacting to.
Find the opportunity. Instead of concentrating on the bad news or the negative in a situation, see what opportunities may be hiding in it. For example, having a remote team may have upended your plans for team bonding, which had been a priority. So, instead consider how can you work within those parameters to achieve bonding opportunities as good, or even better.
Adopt a growth mindset. Failures can become learning opportunities with this perspective. When something goes badly or not-as-planned, take the opportunity immediately after to debrief with yourself and others, what changes should be made to ensure future success.
Maintain perspective. If the pandemic has taught us anything it’s that there is a lot that gets in our way that is outside of our control. Stop wasting time there and instead, focus on the things that are within your control to change and take action on those.
Be flexible. Understand that things change and plan in advance for what a Plan B and C might look like.
Know your reputation.</…….