As managers, those in positions of power need to keep a professional attitude in any environment.
This is easier said than done in stressful situations, where losing one’s cool can take less than one second.
There are many frustrating situations that managers have to face, such as when an employee doesn’t listen, and, as a result, makes a big mistake on a project, or when clients act entirely unreasonable, demanding something that is impossible to accommodate.
Managers must work on dealing with these situations in a professional manner, as losing their temper can leave them feeling embarrassed and not in control of their emotions.
In order to do so, leaders must learn to respond to the situation without reacting, which can be done with these tips:
Focus On The Nonverbal Cues
Responding involves using words to deal with the situation at hand; reacting, on the other hand, means revealing your personal thoughts and feelings about the situation.
Managers often have to separate the verbal (what they say) and the nonverbal (how they say it) in order to maintain a professional front.
When something makes you incredibly mad, focus on your nonverbal behaviours, such as your gestures, the loudness of your voice, and the rate of speech.
While most supervisors focus on their verbal cues, such as abstaining from using curse words at work, they forget that gestures or the volume with which they speak also gives away their anger.
Focus On The Logic
Reacting comes from an emotional place that triggers a heated reaction; responding comes from a logical place that focuses on the facts of the situation without the attached emotions.
In order to avoid reacting, utilise your logic skills right away and consider how what is happening will really affect your position and the mission of the department.
For example, if an employee did something without your permission that jeopardised a possible business deal, instead of focusing on how mad you are, consider if the act is reversible, and what you can do to fix things.
Instead of yelling at the staff, try explaining calmly why what she did was wrong, and brainstorm as to how both of you can make the situation better.
Take A Moment
While you are still learning to control your emotions and respond without reacting, you need to give yourself a moment to focus on the nonverbal cues and on the logical response.
With time, you may be able to do so instantaneously, but in the beginning, take a moment to breathe and to decide how you will respond.
A leader must be able to deal with situations logically and tactfully, keeping emotions out of the reaction. Use the three steps above to learn how to respond without reacting.
Head of Training and Development
Originally published: 4 December, 2015