My way of breaking through emotional upswings
Mar 02, 2011
As a leader, one cannot avoid being consumed by emotions. It is human nature to be emotional. Although popular writing states that your state of mind is your choice, in real life, it is quite hard to keep control at the rational mind at all times. However, only leaders who exhibit cool headed, confident and assertive posture are seen as effective by their followers and people who are effected by the leaders actions.
A leader could feel inadequate when he realizes his own incompetence and lack of potential to achieve a desired result. He could feel lonely when everybody else has left a tough decision to him and are looking up to his verdict. Frustration can set in if varied and repeated attempts to accomplish a much desired goal have failed. The problem with frustration is that it can develop into worry which in turn can cause more worry. Disappointment and anger usually shows up when trust is misused.
The first tool that will help a leader is self awareness. Very effective leaders learn to express their emotions in words while maintaining a non threatening posture. At any moment if you are able to state your emotional state verbally and keep cool at the same time, you are half there. I think just the act of expressing your emotion without getting agitated cools you down a bit already.
Whenever I sense negative emotions, I verbally state it to myself if not others, possibly with a smiling face. Then I consciously exercise my rational mind. The tool I fall back to is the "Six Thinking Hats" by Edward De Bono. One of the six hats is the emotional red hat. After capturing the emotions using that hat, I start wearing the other hats one by one and think under the influence of that hat and relate to the emotions. The white hat let's me capture facts that are causing the emotional state. The black hat lets me recall the risks I might have overlooked. With the yellow hat, I force myself to think of three reasons to feel positive in the current situation. The green hat make me think of alternative paths I could have pursued or those I could pursue from the current point forward. By the time I have made some progress beyond the red hat, I feel that I am cooling down already.