How Leaders Manage Their Emotions

Professional athletes are naturally talented, but they master their skill by spending thousands and thousands of hours developing their craft. So when we see a veteran pitching on the bump in Game 7 of the World Series start to show signs of unravelling, we’re quick to jump all over him for cracking under the pressure.

When we think of managing our emotions, the example of professional athletes lends itself well to this topic, because of how high we view them and their insane ability to effectively manage their minds. Athletes can develop healthy and productive emotional habits to ensure their emotions can facilitate their ability to perform well and achieve their goals.

The best ones can build off of bad performances and learn from them while taking constructive criticism from all angles in stride. Psychology Today defines emotions as, “powerful social signals that send us quick, physical messages that allow us to respond to our environment.” But what happens when this influx of neural activity overrides our system and causes us to not think clearly?

Here’s how the top leaders manage their minds.

They Understand that Emotions Have a Ripple Effect

A leader who is not managing his or her emotions well can wreak severe havoc on an entire organization. This can send powerful shockwaves that seriously damage employee morale, retention, and ultimately the bottom line. In Newton’s Third Law, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Meaning that emotions in the workplace will have a ripple effect enterprise wide—good, bad or otherwise.

They Don’t React Right Away

There is an old zen saying that we should “learn to respond, not react.” Immediately pulling the emotional trigger can lead to more issues down the road. It’s wise to take a deep breath and stabilize the overwhelming impulse for a few minutes to bring your heart rate back to normal, ride the wave of hormones and start to envision a positive path towards a solution. By understanding what’s happening to your body on a molecular level, you can better control it macro level. 

They’re Aware of Their Awareness  

Being able to critically examine your thinking means you can decipher between negative and rational thinking. It means taking a step back and understanding that this is pessimistic thinking that is taking over the controls and is running the show. By being cognizant of this negative mental block is how you’re able to sidestep it completely and move forward. 

They Build off of Failure

In the corporate climate, making mistakes can sometimes seem like a death sentence. And instead of finding solutions to move forward, many of us are more worried about scrambling to play the blame game about who will play the role of the scapegoat. It’s time to have a shift in our mindsets and stop wasting time playing this destructive game, and instead start working towards a solution – because that’s what ultimately matters. 

They Have Healthy Outlets

Having a healthy way of releasing emotions is important to letting your cognitive pipeline flow effectively. All those pent up hormones have to be processed and released in a healthy manner. It helps to see things from the bigger picture. Ask yourself; is this going to be a huge problem one year from now? By putting things into perspective, it allows you to realign with understanding your higher purpose and not getting caught up in temporary roadblocks.