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To Be an Effective Leader, Sometimes You Need to Give Yourself a Time Out

Nine questions for building self-awareness

Source | | John Stoker

I had just finished a difficult meeting with our legal team about an infringement on our company’s copyrights. I came into my next meeting without signaling to my team what I was feeling in the moment, nor did I take the time to ground myself and shift out of my current emotional state.

It didn’t take long before one courageous team member said, “John, I think you are coming in too hot for us right now.” When I asked him what he meant, he talked about my tone, tempo and physical behaviors that clearly signaled something negative was going on with me. I asked the rest of the team if they had the same interpretation about my current behavior. They replied in the affirmative. I apologized and told them what was going on. Doing so allowed me the time to re-center myself and set my feelings aside for the time being.

We often don’t see ourselves the way we are seen by others. Becoming more self-aware, especially when our negative feelings start to emerge, is the first key to managing ourselves more effectively and becoming more emotionally intelligent.  is the ability to recognize and manage our own feelings, as well as influence the feelings and our relationships with others.

As leaders, we can’t afford to negatively impact those we need to work with to achieve our goals. Here are nine questions for improving your self-awareness, especially when your negative emotions start to take center stage in your interactions with others.

1. Do you let your feelings get the best of you?

Sometimes our negative or “hot” emotions occur so quickly that they completely hijack our rationality. Part of being more in control or rational in any given situation is identifying beforehand those situations or people who may push your buttons. By recognizing potential triggers, you can do a lot to prepare yourself to positively handle the situation if it should start to take a turn for the worse.

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