I had a conversation with a young leader who was stepping down from a leadership role a few weeks ago. In a moment an incredible self-awareness she said “I can’t lead other people when right now I can’t lead myself”.
If you are any type of leadership culture you will resonate with this and have heard it before.
This time I heard it, thus got me thinking. We are all works in progress and will have areas where we are doing well, and areas where we are struggling, so we can’t always lead ourselves well.
However here are some areas where if we can’t lead ourselves we will undermine any leadership role we are in.
So for the next few weeks I am going to unpack some of them. Heres the first one.
Leading Your Emotional World
Leaders can’t be emotionless robots or people who are always up and peppy. However I do believe we need some control of our emotional world.
This doesn’t mean we can’t have a tough day, express grief, anger or sadness. It does mean though that we need to have enough self-control that we can shelve those emotions when the situation requires it.
Leaders need a level of emotional stability so people around you can trust and rely on you.
For me the last thing I want is my team on egg shells wondering what sort of mood I am going to be in today (I am really hoping after this blog I don’t find out this is the case !)
Leaders need to be people who can handle problems and issues without losing control of their emotional world. We also need to understand how what is going on in our physical body affects our mood and brain function. Sometimes the situation is not as bad as your response, you just need food or sleep.
Part of this is knowing what the release valves on your emotions are.
At work if I know I am starting to red line I will go the kitchen at work, make a cup of tea , while its brewing I go to the bathroom and tell God that I am not coping. Some how admitting it and asking for help is the first step towards gaining control. Then I usually find that either my perspective changes, peace comes or I get a God idea and I can get back into it. ( Some days I drink a lot of tea)
At peak times I make sure I am walking the dog and praying every morning. I stay committed to swimming laps three times a week – I make sure I have fun times with good friends.
The things you do to release your emotional pressure valve will be different to mine – but you need to know what they are.
The last thing we need is for people we lead to experience outbursts of negative emotions on a regular basis because we are not in control. (We will all still lose the plot occasionally – which requires an apology I wrote about it here Say Sorry ) .Emotional stability creates trust and security in teams.
How do you keep your emotions under control ? What are you release valves, do you know when to use them ? How do you healthily express emotions ?
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