Tag Archives: self-control

Under New Management

I had had enough.

My office manager had belittled me and spoken rudely to me for a mistake I had made. For three years, whenever I made a mistake, she would publicly humiliate me and exaggerate my mistakes. I had been in this situation before plenty of times and ignored her. Unfortunately, most problems do not disappear if you ignore them—and this one was no different. I had a choice to make before I opened my mouth. Did I want to be right, or did I want to be well?I didn’t want to say something I’d regret. I wanted to be different this time: I wanted to control my emotions.

We all face situations like this because nobody is perfect. So in an imperfect world with imperfect people, how can you bring your emotions under new (and improved) management? Here’s three easy ways:

image courtesy of Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net

  • You must prepare. If you don’t understand how you act and react, you cannot improve. Ask yourself some key questions: Do you express your anger or do you withdraw and hold it in? What happens when you experience loss? Are you the first person to express your opinion in situations? Do you celebrate when others celebrate? Do you allow yourself to enjoy success? If you don’t know, ask your close friends how you handle all kinds of emotions—not just negative ones, but positive ones as well. Benjamin Franklin said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Start preparing and start succeeding!
  • You must practice. For the three years I worked for that office manager, each time she spoke was an opportunity for me to practice managing my emotions.  It also was a perfect chance for me to understand how others respond to my personality, leadership style, and motivational gifts—and how I respond to theirs. I have learned the best response sometimes is no response, which is difficult for a prophet to learn (because we love to talk and give our opinions!). But I only learned this through practice. As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect!
  • You must pray. Prayer changes YOU! This is the most important point. You cannot effectively manage your emotions on your own. Mels Carbonell says, “In order to discover God’s will for your life, you must give him your giftedness along with your feelings, thoughts, and actions.” Bringing God the simplest things, including our emotions, is exactly what He desires from us. So seek God first, and all of these things will be added to you (Matthew 6:31)—including control of your emotions.

So what happened that day with my coworker? I calmly but firmly told her that she was being rude and condescending and that belittling me in front of others was no way to manage people. I suggested that if she wanted me to perform better, that she should kindly ask me to be more careful in doing my job. And I said all of this without yelling, without anger, and without owning her emotional immaturity—with the aid of prayer.

What are some techniques you use to manage your emotions?

Do you want help managing your emotions and becoming a better leader? Click on “Contact Me” at the top of this page to set up a discovery call with me!

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Right or Well?

I got called out. My pastor responded to something I did by taking up an offense—and as a result, he hurt me very badly. Later, he wrote an e-mail asking me to meet and talk, and I responded with an e-mail telling him where to go and how to get there—-6 pages of shocking directions. It was not difficult to notice, unless you were me: I was emotionally unfit.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net

What is emotional intelligence? I believe emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize, understand, and control the emotions of yourself and others. A few years ago, I didn’t just lack emotional intelligence, I lacked the basic knowledge about myself and self-control as well, which made me an ineffective leader that never gained the respect of those I led. Had I known more about myself, I would have been able to effectively apply the principles of emotional intelligence and be a better leader.

The following are the three principles that I believe are the most important to improving emotional intelligence.

Principle 1: Manage your emotions. You can’t spell “emotional intelligence” without emotion. Our society and even our churches have become a place of rushed or hushed emotions. People are not taught how to properly express their emotions—or given the time or ability to be angry, to celebrate, to hurt, to grieve, or to heal. We need to shun any assumption in our communities that does not allow us to fully experience all feelings, including (and especially) grief and loss. When we allow ourselves to feel, we grow in empathy and allow others to see us transparently—which in turn draws them to us. And by understanding our emotions, we can control them—and the emotions of others.

Principle 2: Embrace conflict. Once you’ve learned to control your emotions, conflict becomes more manageable as well. As you grow in self-awareness and accept who God has made you to be, your desires during conflict will shift from self-centered to God-centered. You will choose to work through conflict instead of to bury it. Your new awareness and emotional control will affect how others’ respond in the midst of turmoil. Conflict is a natural and necessary part of life, and to grow emotionally, we must learn to face it head-on with grace.

Principle 3: Enforce boundaries. People with high emotional intelligence understand the importance of guarding their families, their time, and their hearts. Can you say “no” and mean it? Are you making sure your family gets the best of you? Do you put restrictions on your work hours? Edwin Louis Cole said, “Boundaries are to protect life, not to limit pleasures.” Setting appropriate boundaries will shield your life from unnecessary and unwanted difficulties while protecting what’s important.

The question is this: do you want to be right or do you want to be well? Part of being well includes being emotionally healthy and working on those areas where we may still be underdeveloped. Is it time for you to grow up emotionally? 

Interested in working on your emotional intelligence and becoming a better leader? Click on “Contact Me” at the top of this page to set up a discovery call with me!

Who’s Leading You?

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When we think of leadership, we tend to think of being led or leading others. But I recently read up on the idea of self-leadership, which is a leader being self-aware, having emotional intelligence, and practicing self-control. Great leaders have all three of these characteristics. Of course, it is possible to be a leader who has only one or two of these characteristics (or even none), but great leaders display all three.

I recently worked for a boss who was very self-aware about her lack of emotional intelligence. On my first day of work, she told me that she “barked” at people when she was frustrated, annoyed, or stressed out. (I saw this was true very soon after I began working there.) However, over three years working with her, I also noticed that she lacked the self-control to improve this immaturity about herself. Being self-aware is great, but if it is not coupled with emotional intelligence and self-control, it hinders a leader’s ability to lead effectively.

Where do you begin with self-leadership? Here are a few ways you can begin to show self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and self-control in your daily interactions:

  • Figure out who you are. What motivates you to make decisions? How do you communicate and how does it affect those around you? What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? You can go further by knowing yourself inside and out. How can you do this? Discover your gifts. Take a leadership style assessment like the DISC™ profile or StrengthsFinder. Hire a leadership or life coach to help you discover more about yourself.
  • Ask yourself the hard questions. How do you handle conflict? Do you speak up in confrontational situations or do you hold it in until you explode? What do you do when faced with stress? Do you gossip behind others’ backs? Do you speak truth to others harshly or tactfully? Are you constantly trying to grow or are you avoiding growth and change? These answers will help you find where your emotional intelligence is strong and where you need further development.
  • Do the right thing. Do you know what to do and when to do it, as well as what not to do and when not to do it? Are you disciplined enough to make the right decisions during crunch time? Do you model integrity as a leader? Are you the same person in front of others that you are when you are alone? Share these answers with a trusted friend. Then decide to improve in specific areas and let your friend hold you accountable to make those changes.

Self-leadership cannot take place in isolation. In order to grow, we need to experience community! Discuss these questions with your family, friends, colleagues, and even those you lead. Their feedback can help you become the leader God wants you to be.

Would you like to explore more about self as leader? Click “Contact Me” at the top of this page and fill out the contact form. I’d love to have a free discovery call with you.