Everyone has felt critical, doubtful, or scared, even at work—and attempting to minimize or ignore such emotions can amplify them. Effective leaders neither buy into nor try to suppress their inner experiences—instead, they develop “emotional agility,” a skill which enables them to approach their inner experiences in a mindful and productive way.
These practices can help you do the same:
Recognize your patterns. In what instances does your thinking become rigid and repetitive, playing like a broken record you’ve heard time and time again? That’s a telltale sign that you’ve been hooked by a thought or feeling.
Label your thoughts and emotions. This allows you to see them as they are: transient sources of data that may or may not prove helpful. Taking this “helicopter view” of your emotions simplifies them; it turns the thought “My coworker is wrong—he makes me so angry,” into “I’m having the thought that my coworker is wrong, and I’m feeling anger.”
Accept feelings with an open attitude. They may be signaling that something important is at stake, like your values. This gives you the chance to act on them.
Adapted from “Emotional Agility,” by Susan David and Christina Congleton.