Thank you for listening to The Champion Forum Podcast with Jeff Hancher! The best advice I received was never to make a permanent decision based on a temporary emotion. Unfortunately, leaders who are driven and highly motivated can create a level of pressure for themselves and their organization that breeds conflict and agitation. Most of these situations are temporary (a new product launch, the end-of-year sales push, a controversial decision, etc.), but they can have a lasting impact if you allow yourself to make permanent decisions based on your emotions.
What causes emotional situations in the workplace?
rapid or unpopular change
a big project or deadline
conflict with a key customer
Q: What else would you add to this list? What situations seem to create the most conflict and emotion?
How should a leader respond?
Don't ignore bad behavior, but don't react to it either. Wait until your emotions have settled down. Otherwise, it could be too late to reverse the damage, and you might hurt your people over a situation where they were feeling emotional and unintentionally lost control.
Q: What is the difference between reacting and responding? Do you think there is a situation where you should react to an employee's behavior? Why or why not?
How can I keep this perspective?
Use your emotional intelligence and respond both directly and with grace. Treat your employees just like you would treat your kids. I mean that you don't take it personally when your kids act out of emotion. And you're ready to forgive them when they ask for it. Instead of responding by kicking them out of the house, you would help them get out of the pattern of acting on their emotions. Focus on assisting the employee in correcting their error and creating a plan so that they are more in control of their feelings in the future.
Q: How have you responded to an employee's emotional outburst in the past? Have you ever acted out passion and frustration? How did your boss respond? What did you learn through either situation?
Are there any conflicts you avoided because you didn't want to react to your emotions? Take action to address them today. If there are steps you need to take first, like talking to a spouse or leader or gaining more information on the situation, start there and schedule a time to speak to the offender by the end of the week.
Many businesses experience conflict when they are trying to implement changes. Some disputes can be avoided by nurturing your relationship with your key stakeholders and talking them through the changes. Listening to their feedback and adapting your plan based on their recommendations will help them buy into the program and be more committed to seeing it carried out correctly. If you are in the middle of a change, identify your key stakeholders and set up a time to communicate your plan and hear their feedback. Then follow up with them individually and answer their questions.
Emotional intelligence is a learned skill. Part of learning how to navigate emotional outbursts is understanding what makes you and other people tick. If you have never learned about your teammates' personalities, try taking a popular personality test like the StrengthsFinder, Myers-Briggs, or Enneagram. By understanding each person's type, you will be able to identify conflict before it happens and respond to conflict in a way that keeps your team unified under your shared goals. My team also offers formal training on the Enneagram and how to use it to improve your work environment HERE.