By | Shital Kakkar Mehra | Executive Presence Coach for CEOs I Business Communication Expert I Best-selling Author I Co-Founder Katalyst, NGO
Have you shouted at a young team member “What the hell were you thinking when you sent that email to our new client?” Or, did you somehow manage to control your emotions and ask in an even tone “Please tell me your reason for writing this email to the client”. Congratulations, you have aced Executive Maturity!
Leaders are excellent at maintaining poise under pressure by remaining calm and retaining clarity of thought. Also, under stressful conditions, they are expected to give a calibrated response where they weigh their words and gain a clear understanding of what to say, how much to say and what not to say. Many situations may spin out of control in today’s turbulent world and everyone looks up to the leader to act as a bridge between the outside world and employees.
- Know your triggers: Leaders display heightened self-awareness and self-control to better understand the reasons behind your moods, emotional reactions, and outbursts. Often, it’s a deeply embedded past experience, a childhood memory, or possibly a bruised ego. Work on ways to build self-control – a mentor, a guru, spirituality, yoga, breathing exercises, diverting your mind at that moment, the list is endless. When I asked a senior business leader how he maintained his emotional equilibrium, he said he carried a list of his triggers and used it as a guide each time things reached a point of escalation at work. This handy reference guide helped him stay calm and reminded him to bring self-control. A step towards building maturity is to stand up and own up to your mistakes and accept your weaknesses. Mistakes are acceptable and every leader has weaknesses – we are humans after all. But what can impact a leader adversely is the inability or unwillingness to accept or improve on their weaknesses.
- Exude calm energy: If you are faced with a stressful situation or if a colleague or client is demanding an immediate answer, remember to pause for a moment to breathe. Oxygen intake will force you to calm down, and taking even a couple of extra seconds to respond will help you refrain from blurting the first response that pops in your head. Panic is extremely contagious, so it’s in your interest not to catch it from those around you. If a colleague, boss, or client addresses you rudely or is very demanding, remind yourself that they likely are not trying to attack you, but rather are projecting their own stress. Intense pressure on the job often comes from not one source, but from many demands, all piling down on you at once. Instead of trying to fix everything immediately, prioritize what is most essential. This will allow you to focus, which is essential for staying calm in critical moments.