For team members to excel, be challenged, and feel like they have a purpose in their job, leaders must foster an environment and culture that allows them to bring their best self to the table. Leaders must constantly remember that the way you lead, the things you do and say, affect how others feel on the inside.
EQ (Emotional Intelligence) becomes crucial.
One of my favourite quotes is Viktor Frankl’s words
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
This is sometimes easier said than done.
We often jump to a conclusion and easily take things personally. Reframe your thinking by considering what other possible reasons may be for the person to act the way they are behaving. A level of self-awareness is also hugely beneficial. For example: ‘What is my role in this scenario? How has my behaviour impacted the other person's view – without being aware of it?’
Never underestimate the impact of taking a few deep breaths to slow down your heartbeat and be able to evaluate what is happening and what will be the best way to respond to this situation.
Ask questions to truly understand the other person’s perspective. Help me understand why do you want to achieve XYZ? What is the real issue for you? If you choose X what are you saying no to?
When you are triggered, you are in fight, flight, freeze or fawn state. A chemical reaction results in our neocortex (thriving, problem-solving part of the brain) to not functioning optimally. Instead of allowing an unconscious habit to drive your reaction, reactivate the neocortex and be mindful in choosing how you want to respond.
To reactivate your neocortex, ask yourself a question (such as: What is the real issue for me? What might support a different explanation? What if this was someone else behaving in this way? What is my behaviour communicating?) in order to notice what is really going on in the moment.
It is helpful to be able to name the emotion you are experiencing and consider what is the emotion trying to tell you. Instead of being angry, perhaps you are disappointed with how your idea wasn’t taken despite you being verbally told that your idea was the best idea.
Remember, an experience is made up of four elements – what am I observing, thinking, feeling and wanting. When sharing your experience, a good start is to start with the “I”. For example, when the project's team leader did not schedule sufficient time on the agenda: “I noticed that this is the third time that we didn’t have sufficient time allocated to the brainstorming topic. I feel disappointed that my idea wasn’t heard after the request to make the research a priority. How can we ensure we have sufficient time allocated to this agenda-point moving forward?”