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Once you have worked on developing Self Awareness, Self Management is the next place to focus.  Self Management is one of the most easily observable Emotional Intelligence concepts. You know it when you see it and you definitely know it when you don’t!  The lack of Self Management is what usually gets the most attention.

Think about the last time you saw somebody let their negative emotions impact their actions or reactions. Was it a leader or a colleague?  What did you do? Or not do? How did you feel?  If in a group setting, how did that impact the group?

Think about the last time you saw someone stay calm in the midst of a situation where they could have let their negative emotions impact the situation. What did you do then?  How did you feel? If in a group setting, how did that impact the group?

One aspect of Self Management relates to not allowing your emotions dictate your actions and reactions.  Another aspect of Self Management is to be transparent and authentic with your emotions.  We can be honest about our emotions without letting them run our lives or our meetings! You will never be able to manage the “emotions” in the room or on the team until you can manage your own.  This is NOT about “hiding” your emotions but showing them in a self-controlled way

Here are a few ideas on how this can be done:

  1. Sleep. It is amazing how sleep can impact our ability to be self managed – or not!  I know that it’s not always easy to get regular sleep (I have a 14 month old who is not yet a good sleeper…:) but it can be really powerful to help us manage our emotions well.  I’ll never forget a quote from one of my favorite college professors, Dr. Scott Duvall, who reminded us often, “The most spiritual thing you can do right now is sleep!”  He was so right!
  2. Pause. Although it is really tempting to immediately react in a situation that is uncomfortable or frustrating, it is usually much easier to be self managed if you pause.  You may pause for a few moments or it may need to be for a few days.
  3. Pray. When it comes to self management, as well as many other areas of EI, I find it particularly helpful to pray.  When I am able to recognize that there is a God who is greater than me and able to strengthen me in these situations, I am better able to be self managed.  The Serenity prayer is a good one when working on Self Management. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference…”
  4. Breathe.  Whenever I would get upset or anxious, my mom used to remind me to take 10 deep breaths.  Oh how I hated that advice when I was younger, but she was right!  Take some time to breathe.
  5. Ask for feedback. Similar to growing in Self Awareness, you can gain some valuable insight by asking trusted colleagues and friends who will give you honest, yet constructive feedback on your ability to be self managed.
  6. Acknowledge your emotions. This is really important when it comes to also being honest and vulnerable with your emotions.  I know it may seem strange, but one of the best things you can do in a really tense situation, particularly in a group setting, is to acknowledge in a calm way that you are in a really tense situation or that you are frustrated or disappointed. Acknowledge that things are uncomfortable and that you will listen and work together to find a way to ease that tension.
  7. Observe. Watch those who do it well and imitate them!

Beware, when you manage your emotions and remain calm even in difficult situations, it may cause those who are NOT managing their emotions even more upset initially. They will not like that you are calm and they are not – will want to hijack that but do not let them!  Keep being Self Managed?

What about you? What are some things that have worked well in helping you become more Self Managed?  One of these or other ideas?

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Photo by Samuel Scrimshaw on Unsplash

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