Control Your Emotions

control your emotions at workNothing can damage a work relationship quicker than out-of-control emotions and unchecked anger. People, and leaders in particular, who explode at the drop of a hat systematically destroy morale and create an icy, uncertain work culture in which employees are too busy ducking or walking on eggshells to give their best. Sometimes it’s helpful to be assertive, but avoid crossing the line into aggressiveness. Keeping your cool can be one of your best tools for building cooperation, teamwork and respect.

Here are some interesting tidbits about anger and how it relates to leadership abilities.

Angry leaders are often underdeveloped, immature leaders. These are the types of people who have some old-fashioned idea that it’s cool to walk around shouting at people, chewing them out, and hollering about every little thing that goes wrong. They think it makes them look powerful, knowledgeable, in control, and superior to everyone and everything. They believe it’s their responsibility and right to “beat up” on everyone just because they’re in charge. But quite the contrary! The best leaders have maturity, backed by the wisdom and acceptance that they’re equals with everyone around them.

Emotional people must often work harder to manage their self-control. And that doesn’t make them bad leaders, just unique in that sense. After all, people are wired differently, and you can’t get around that fact. If you’re an emotional person, the trick is to tune into who or what ticks you off and how you respond, so you can learn to manage your anger appropriately. There are lots of ways to manage anger — exercising, deep breathing, talking with a third-party/objective confidant, stepping out for fresh air, and even writing out your feelings on paper. Developing some degree of patience and making that a discipline is what this is really about… and then whichever way works best to zap some of the intense energy out of the emotional situation — do it. You’ll be given the gift of newfound control and perhaps some refreshing objectivity. A little more “decompressed” than a few minutes before, you can now construct a sane strategy for addressing the problem at hand.

Anger can be useful, but only in the right situations. You just have to learn when and how to use your emotions effectively. For example, say you usually stay cool, calm and collected in the face of many conflicts or problems. Then one day, a major issue surfaces that’s putting your whole company at risk. In such a case, it might be OK to call a company meeting and (privately) plan to get a little explosive or emotional for a change. It could snap some disaffected people into paying attention to what’s vital and generate the desired call to action. Of course, moderation here is the key — never abuse this technique. Otherwise, you’ll risk being perceived as an over-reactive hothead and undermine your best intentions.

When have you used anger effectively?

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