As leaders, we can expect to face situations that tend to “push our buttons” in the workplace. The habitual tardy employee, the person who continually sees the glass half empty regardless of the situation and even the subtle trouble maker can get the best of us if we are not proactive when faced with these episodes in the workplace. Remember, the moment you respond to an employee from an “emotional” perspective is the very moment you are no longer in control of the conversation. We cease to speak or even think logically, if the emotional hemisphere of our brain is directing our actions. And the moment we are no longer in control means the employee now is – which a very dangerous place to be as a leader.
So, what can you do? The key is remaining proactive and keeping your thinking (and actions) logical. Here are some practical suggestions:
Be aware of your “warning signs”.
Our bodies will manifest an emotional elevation in some way – tenseness, a rise in blood pressure, lack of patience, etc. Know yourself so that when you sense your body responding you can act on it before it gets out of control. Those triggers will cause your body to respond physically and if not managed, emotions will take over and you will say what you feel which is likely not the best for the situation and more importantly, cannot be easily undone if it crosses the line. So, above all, know yourself. It’s the first secret to keeping your cool.
Set expectations early.
If you have a certain “hot button” –and we all do-, be fair to your staff and let them know. It’s that proactive communication step that gives your team that insight of that “thing” that negatively impacts you, and better yet, why it’s important to avoid it. Not only are your pet peeves important to share, a leadership best practice is to routinely share performance expectations. What better way to prepare your team than to let them know the best way to succeed. In a powerful way, you are equipping them with tips for successful interactions.
Don’t allow infractions to build to the point they annoy you.
If an employee is late enough that it hits your radar, address it immediately. Don’t wait for the one day their tardiness sets you off. So what does that mean? We have to be “on alert” on a regular basis to look for and monitor our team’s behavior. Look for the opportunity to praise an employee for positive behavior and at the same time, if an employee’s behavior is starting to wane, look for a casual opportunity to address the concern.
The major key in being successful in this area of leadership is being aware that at any time, each of us is capable of falling into emotional traps. Take advantage of these practical tips and don’t become the next victim of leadership. In this race, logic always take the prize.
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