Last week I was featured in the podcast Entrepreneurs on Fire. During my interview on the topic “How to Stop Managing and Start Leading”, the host, JLD (John Lee Dumas), asked me which skills, I believe new leaders must develop. You can listen to entire interview here.
An obviously, the more skills a leader develops, the better equipped he or she is going to be, to handle all the daily challenges of the job. But to me, hands down the two most important skills a leader MUST develop AND master, regardless of being a new leader or a seasoned one, are effective communication and emotional regulation.
Through effective communication we can clearly convey ideas, share our vision and engage, motivate and inspire others. Quite honestly, I can unpack communication so deeply, that I think it’ll be a topic for another day. So for today, let’s focus on emotional regulation.
Emotional regulation in a nutshell, is the self-awareness and effective management of our own emotions and how these project onto others.
I always emphasize that leadership must start with self-leadership. Emotional self-awareness allows us to identify our triggers, blind spots and internal limits. Not to mentioned that it can become a great tool for stress and anxiety management.
The way we feel and how we interpret such feelings, has an impact on how we think, how we make decisions, and how we conduct our actions and behavior every single day..
A leader who has low emotional regulation is more likely to become a victim of his or her own mood polarities; their actions and behavioral patterns would always be at the mercy of how they feel at any given moment. Conversely, a well-regulated leader, will have a better balance and judgment of his or her feelings and actions. Emotional regulation allows us to carefully judge which affective outcomes to embrace and which ones to avoid.
Emotional regulation includes the range of both positive and negative feelings, along with how we can enhance them, use them, and control them.
The three main components of Emotional Regulation are:
- Initiating actions triggered by emotions.
- Inhibiting actions triggered by emotions.
- Modulating responses triggered by emotions.
Our goal should be to create enough self-awareness and mastery of this topic, that we mostly default to the third component as the go-to method to regulate internal processes.
As leaders (and honestly, as human beings), we encounter hundreds of emotion-provoking stimuli daily, and most of them require some degree of action or response from us. So, it’s expected that our mind gets tangled up into some negative thoughts or even numbs itself out to ignore emotions after getting bombarded with so much stimuli daily.
Emotional regulation acts as a modifier; it helps us filter the most important pieces of information and motivates us to attend to it in a way that wouldn’t evoke stress, fear, or anxiety as the default.
Furthermore, studies on emotional regulation indicate that there is a significant positive correlation between emotion regulation and depression management. People with lower levels of anxiety show higher emotional control and social-emotional intelligence.
When we are confronted by a provoking stimulus, the natural reaction of the brain is to activate the amygdala, a brain almond-shaped area that regulates our fight-or-flight responses. However, through emotional regulation we create the mental space to assess the situation before we react on a fight or flight trigger. As explained by professor and author Kris Lee, “with emotional regulation, we can allow the initial upsurge of emotions to settle down and zoom out of the situation before reacting to it.”
As leaders the reaction to our emotions will have an impact in our team and in the rest of the people around us. Whether that impact is a positive or a negative one is entirely up to us. The stress of the job, the frustration of a missed deadline or an escalation from an internal or external customer, or any hiccup we may encounter as we navigate our day, can trigger responses that if not kept in check can bring out the worst in us. I always say that if we feel the need to raise our voice, is our argument which needs to improve.
For next week, I’ll be sharing with you more on this topic, including skills and strategies we can apply to develop our emotional regulation and support our children in the task of doing so as well.
What is your view on emotional regulation? How to you manage your emotions in a productive manner? Which are your go-to relaxation techniques? I’d love to hear from you.
I hope you found value here today, if so, please like, comment and share with one person who can benefit from this content.
Until next week and God bless,