The cost of bad decisions in life is high. Most bad decisions can be traced to moments when you lose control and charge of the situation. If you ask good leaders about decisions they regret, they will tell you most of the bad decisions they made were caused by their impulsive nature. Emotional competence will help you grow and avoid making impulsive decisions.
Bad decisions are not necessarily the decisions caused by ineffectiveness or faulty logic. Learning to control your emotions in these tense moments will help you avoid making these choices. You have to master the ability to control your emotions in order to become more productive and become a better leader. Below is a list of the ways with which you can control your emotions.
1- Own the emotion.
To be able to influence people emotionally, you have to be able to shoulder emotional responsibility. The only emotion you can control is the emotion you own. Accept the responsibility for the existence of an emotion that comes over you. The impulse could be overwhelming at times and this could make you want to avoid the responsibility. It is easy to shift the responsibility onto the event preceding it or to attribute it to a co-worker. However, this won’t help you master your emotions. You have to adopt the mentality that says emotional responsibility is about you and not them.
If you keep attributing your emotions to external factors, you will be unable to master your emotions. You have to be able to accept criticisms and welcome them as a stepping stone for your emotional growth.
2- Name the story.
If you are capable of owning the story and shouldering the responsibilities for your emotions, this is the nest stage in your emotional growth. You have to be able to name the story in order to master the control of your emotions. At this point, you should reflect on how you contributed to the series of events preceding the feelings of emotion washing over you.
Emotions don’t just appear out of nowhere. They are triggered by some events. You need to get to the root of the event and identify what roles you play in setting the motions in place.
You need to tell yourself the story as it rightly happened. This is so that you don’t end up triggering the wrong emotions by the end of your story. The best way to go about this is to detach yourself from the event and look at the story like a third party.
3- Challenge the story.
Have you been able to tell the story in an unbiased manner? Did you get to the end of your story without playing yourself as the victim or the villain? If so, control your emotions further by grilling yourself with questions that will pull you out of the cloak of villainy or victimhood that you have wrapped around yourself. Transform yourself from the role you play in your story and see matters from another perspective. See how your co-workers assess the situation and understand just like you are in their shoes.
This step should show you where the problem is and help you on your journey of emotional mastery. It will offer you solutions that will put you in charge of your emotions.
4- Find your primal story.
Our memories have a way of encoding early life experiences to make us react in certain ways. If you look at your actions over the years, don’t be surprised if you find a pattern that can make your future actions predictable. If you look at a lot of leaders, you will find out that most of their actions can be quite easily predicted as the most stick to a pattern that works for them.
This is the same with emotions. Early childhood experiences have a way of influencing our actions. To be a master of your emotion, you have to seek out those experiences that mold you to be the way you are.
Childhood experiences like bullying can make you defensive and timid. It could also make you avoid tasks that make you anxious and less confident at work. There are other experiences that can have a hand in how you turn out.