Humans are emotional creatures. You can probably think of a handful of times you gave into your emotions and did something you may have regretted later on. Whether out of anger, frustration, fear, love or really any other emotion, your actions are often dictated by an emotional response. However, this is no way to run a business. An emotional business leader can run into trouble if they lead out of a given emotion. Emotions cloud judgment. Emotionally strong leaders understand how to not only control their emotions but how to avoid letting emotions dictate their actions. This is not to say they do not experience the same emotional range as you or anyone else. Everyone differs in how they react, as everything from a person’s upbringing to life events impact how a person emotionally reacts later down the line. To control your own emotions and become an emotionally strong leader, you need to master these six habits other strong leaders display regarding their emotions.
1. Focus on What You Can Change, Not on What You Can’t
You've heard the phrase "don't cry over spilled milk" before. This simple phrase means don't waste time on things that have already happened and things you can't change. This is mental energy right out the door. There are far too many times for you to devote your time to, so why look towards the past or towards things you can't influence at all.
Every business experiences roadblocks. Sometimes there’s nothing you can do about it. Perhaps the government just released new regulations within your sector. You could spend time yelling and screaming about it, but it won’t get you anywhere. If you spend time thinking about things that have already happened or aspects to your life and work you can’t control, you’ll end up becoming upset, frustrated, sad or any other combination of emotions. When this happens, it affects the decisions you make.
Has someone ever wronged you to a point you constantly think about it? You’re out walking the dog and it enters your mind. You’re driving to work, and you think about it. Maybe it pops up while showering or in the middle of a business meeting. Then, when you see this person again, you’ve spent so much mental energy thinking about how they wronged you, you can't help but lash back out at them. This does nothing to help the relationship between you and this other person (in fact it pushes the two of you further apart), and it hinders the time you've spent thinking about it. All that time you could have thought about a new course of action, new business ideas, brainstormed ways to improve product sales or focused on improving yourself as a person. Emotionally strong leaders don't spend their time on what they can't change. Instead, they focus their time on what they can, which is exactly what you need to do.
2. Don’t Connect Your Self-Worth To Someone Else’s Opinion
In the world of social media, everyone has an opinion. Sadly, the opinions people often give are nasty, immature and hurtful. When people can hide behind a picture-less profile with made up username, they feel like they can say and do anything they wish. You've probably seen, read and heard about far too many people who have succumbed to social media bullying and took a drastic, irreversible action.
This is not to say you would ever do something like that. As a leader, you're already, in many ways, emotionally stronger than others. However, you need to make sure and not connect your self-worth to the opinion of someone else. You may not think this affects you, but take a step back and think about it. Are your feelings hurt and do you feel a drop in your emotional wellbeing when someone is critical of you? Likewise, do you feel your emotional state skip higher if someone praises you? Yes, everyone likes to be praised, and most of us would rather avoid criticism (especially when it's unfounded and simply nasty to be hurtful). Emotionally strong leaders do not hitch their wagon to that of another person's opinion. There may be opinions they respect and seek out, but it doesn't affect their personal self-worth. The less stock you put into the opinion of others, the stronger you'll become as an emotional leader.
The thing about leading is, the higher up you progress and the more exposed you become, the more criticism you’ll receive. And one thing you’ll likely learn is the smallest critical minority is often the loudest on social media. There might be one person out of a hundred who has a problem with what you’re doing, but they will be the one that screams and kicks the loudest. Simply brush it aside and pay no attention to it because remember, as the previous habit indicates, exerting your emotional energy on things you can’t control, is merely a waste of time.
3. Regulate Your Emotions
Everyone experiences some sort of an emotional response. It’s part of who you are. You can’t simply reprogram the way you feel and how you react. If something makes you upset, it makes you upset. However, you can control the way you show your emotions and how you act on them. Emotionally strong leaders understand the importance of not letting their emotions control them.
Some of the most damaging emotions a person can demonstrate while in a leadership position is anger. There will come a time where you become upset. This is the case if you are blindsided by news or something that makes you angry. You need to be able to separate yourself from the situation until your anger (or other emotion) has subsided.
Stepping away is one of the best ways to regulate your emotions. In fact, you can make it part of your day. Don't carry out an order or specific action until you have time to sit and think about it. If you find yourself still upset and not cooling off, take a walk, go for a jog, hit the gym or really any other kind of physical activity. Guided meditations can help with this as well. You may find something that works specifically for you. Whatever it is, you want to be centered and in control whenever making a decision as a leader. Emotions may get the best of you as a person, but don't let these emotions get the best of your business.
4. Don’t Avoid Confrontation
Many weak-minded leaders try to skip out on confrontation. Nobody really likes confrontation. It means things are not as smooth sailing as you might want to believe. However, many weak-minded individuals avoid confrontation because they know they will give in to what the other person is saying, even if they know what they are saying is correct.
You need to hold your ground when you’re right and avoid being pushed around. When you’re mentally strong you can do this. While you may not want to head into a confrontation, sometimes it’s unavoidable, so don’t try to skip out and avoid it. Stand tough and remain true to your emotionally strong convictions.
5. Avoid Seeking Out Revenge
Do you have a list, either mental or physically written down, of people who have wronged you, done you harm or have stood in your way in your professional career? We all have some sort of list, either in our heads or in a notepad somewhere, of those who seem to have done everything in their power to trip us up. If asked, you could probably name a handful of people who have caused you to trip up, who have wasted your time or played a part in a previous business failure. Seeking out business revenge may seem like a desirable way to get back at them, but instead, it causes more problems for you and your business than anything else.
There's a saying that says, “don't let someone beat you twice”. This means if someone beats you one time, either in a sporting event or in the world of business, you dwell on the loss. You spend time thinking about it and focusing on the events that cause you to lose, which in turn leads to additional losses. Seeking revenge can do just this. Instead of focusing on your own business and how you can improve yourself and your company, you focus on how you can get back at the other person.
Instead, you need to think of the best form of revenge as proving them wrong. Devote all your time and energy to your work. You can use those who have doubted you or held you back as motivation, but don't let it deviate your mental path. If you do, it allows your emotions to get the better of you. Focus on yourself, not others, regardless of what they have done to you in the past.
6. Take Responsibility
Every single person messes up from time to time (some of us more than others). The key in any mistake is to learn from them. Often, mistakes are the greatest teachers. However, you want to make sure and take responsibility for your mistakes.
Emotionally inept leaders will pass the blame off to someone else. Even if they made the final decision, they may push the blame to a lower level employee. Additionally, emotionally inept individuals find a way of giving weak or even non-meaningful apologies. This can include something like "sorry it offended you" instead of "sorry I wasn't sensitive to the situation." Emotionally strong leaders take responsibility and don't try to bounce the blame off of them or onto someone else. The mentally strong know when they have done wrong and will own it.
Everyone experiences emotions differently. The way you might think or react to a given event will be vastly different from what someone else experiences and how they react. No matter how you react, you shouldn't let emotions dictate your actions and reactions. The strongest leaders do not fall to their emotions or let the way they feel cloud their judgment. That is exactly why you need to master these six habits of emotionally strong leaders. As long as you do, you'll avoid making harmful mistakes while focusing on your business and your employees. Let competitive management in different firms and businesses run off of emotion. This will, in the end, cost them, allowing your business to swoop in and pick up their lost customers.
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