Leaders and managers are often running in a high-pressure working environment. For example, a leader is often faced to manage unexpected situations, where plans are suddenly overturned and quick decision making is a must.

Dealing with emotions and controlling nerves is definitely one of the “boldest virtues” of leadership.

Typical work-place emotions that put our nerves under stress are frustration and sadness: but like it or not, this is just about how work-life can be complicated at times.    

Couple of years ago I faced such stressing situation and had very difficult moments to deal with my emotions. I was looking for help and a good colleague of mine suggested me to “take it with distance”.   I didn’t really understood what he meant until I faced the truth.

My job was going pretty well and the business was happy with the results of the project. However, I was getting angry very easily and I was answering to my team mates always with a nasty behavior. I felt imprisoned, I was not able to master the intensity and frequency of my emotions.

The suggestion of my colleague resonated in me: I was not able to take distance, I was too involved. I was so childishly attached to my job that I didn’t listen to my fellows warning me about how I was behaving at work, isolating and being apathetic to most people feelings.

Dealing with emotions is a crucial aspect of everyone’s personal life and understanding customers emotions is a key differentiator in a professional career.

In your life and in your career, you need to have an emotional strategy.

As a lesson learned, I developed a simple strategy to help me getting at ease with stressing situations.

I simply consider the various challenges I am facing by “zooming out” and taking a distance from them.
When I am faced stress situations, I ask myself  “what can I learn from this issue ?”, “what emotions I am feeling ?”, “is it a good or a bad thing ?”, “ do I want to repeat this experience?”.
The key is to consider the issues from a different angle. These could be a personal or a factual analysis from a collaborator, so I try to   “listen twice” to what is happening and try to persuade myself that a solution will be found.

This targets my mind and my emotions in the right direction – with a can-do attitude – and normally this is translated to my entourage that can reach the goal with a positive state of mind.

Many books have written on emotions and many have discerned the topic on how emotions play in working environments.  One of the best author in my opinion is Daniel Goleman, that in the Seventies introduced Emotional Intelligence to the masses with his best selling book.

I have personally really appreciated the book and although the first part is a bit too theoretical, the second half is definitely a good read for all leaders of the future.

Take a look at it at Amazon here.