“Debbie, think of a person you know, possibly yourself, who is considered to have high potential, to be talented, smart, savvy, and well-trained, but who also does dumb things that end up sabotaging their success.”
There is a science to our emotions. The amygdala is the site of emotional memory and emotional learning. It is responsible for answering the critical question “Do I eat it or does it eat me?” more commonly known as “Flight or fight.” And, in preparation for either flight or fight the nervous system kicks in with a hormone called Cortisol. This hormone is designed to keep you out of harm. But often Cortisol (the stress hormone) can lead to an emotional hijacking, even in the best of leaders.
I have seen it hijack high-level CEOs, presidents, celebrities, and middle-level managers. They have all been victims of the science of our emotions, sometimes resulting in the destruction of months of dedicated work and well-built reputations. But in Debbie’s case, her emotional hijacking was cracking her credibility and trust within her team. She called it venting, her team saw her as emotionally unstable and unreliable as a leader under pressure.
Remember: Emotions come before thoughts, we feel before we think.
Remember: When you get emotionally hijacked you lose options, your cost is big, and you need to learn to catch it early!
Four Emotional Management Strategies:
1. Stop: When you feel your Cortisol kick in, your heart beat will increase; you may start breathing faster and sweating. Stop!
Quick Tip: Disengage even for a few minutes so you can reengage more powerfully
2. Breath: Oxygen to the brain and blood actually help neutralize Cortisol.
Quick Tip: This is why the practice of solitude and daily walks are good at keeping our stress hormones in balance.
3. Appreciate: Start an appreciation journal for your team. Write down the things that you are grateful for and the things that you are thankful your team is providing.
Quick Tip: If bad emotions can get you in trouble, good emotions can keep you out of it. The practice of appreciation is a powerful good emotion!
4. Seek Solitude: Rather than trying to rush and fix problems when you feel emotionally charged, allow for solutions to emerge as you ask others for help.
Quick Tip: Give time and space and watch how solutions can arise.
For Debbie, emotional self-management may be the game-changer. With her talent and skills, if she can bring greater self-awareness and self-discipline to her emotional management, the sky is the limit for her leadership!
Next week: Emotional Intelligence Week Four!
Don’t miss the continuation of Debbie’s story!