Your performance as a leader is directly related to how calm you can remain when stress hits the hot button.
Above all, learn various ways to keep that darn stress at bay. The only thing that won’t work is to be told, “Stay calm.”
Above all, what you need to do is… something. Here’s what I call… something.
The secret of the pattern interrupt
For example, let’s address that… something. You have it with you all the time.
It’s YOUR BODY!
Know your body reactions
To clarify, prepare for a conversation that may be difficult. Check out what happens to your arms, legs, head, and heart?
For example, do your shoulders move up to caress your ears?
Further, does your stomach start to gurgle like a growling dog?
On the other hand, will you start to get an ache around your temples like an internal thunder storm?
How to improve your responses
Think about it this way. The more you pay attention to your twitches and reflexes, the more you can stay calm and in control.
- Find ways to raise the temperature
The sensation of holding something cold, very cold, can distract you from negative reactions. Put an ice cube or two into a plastic bag and put it in your pocket. When you are ready for the worst of the conversation, touch the ice cube. It will sidetrack you for a moment to compose your thoughts.
2. The power of music keeps you calm
Tap a Tune to Stay Alert. Put on some upbeat music. Drum your fingers to the music for a minute or two before a tough discussion. Energizing music can divert you from being overly anxious or second guessing yourself. Then, Ya gotta do what ya gotta do.
3. Have some food for thought
Grab a Mint for Stability. When in an upsetting situation, pop a mint in your mouth. The strong flavor will distract you long enough to think through a cool headed response. Focus on the taste and nothing else for a few seconds. That’s long enough to get your head in a place to respond effectively.
4. What’s that smell
Pay attention to what’s in the air. Clear and pure? Then think of a favorite smell. It can be coffee, roses, the scent of fresh cut grass. Whatever helps calm you will be an added benefit when you begin a discussion that may turn negative. It may still be negative, yet with a touch of calm.
5. Emotional detachment
Don’t take it so personally. You cannot be everything to others. Sometimes, the most difficult encounter turns out to be the best solution down the road. In addition, you do best to tell your truth in a way that can be heard by others. Staying calm is one helpful technique to stay in the safe stress zone.
In conclusion, the most respected leaders are those who can say what is difficult. No need to cross the line into negative and nasty responses. It takes practice. Then you are known as a fair and positive leader who is direct and yet also kind.
After all, isn’t that what you want? Isn’t that what we all want?
To your success,
PS. For more about behavior patterns and how to change them, read my award winning book Don’t Bring It To Work.
PSS. Take the Stress Busters Quiz. Get a handle on your stress reactions. You will be a better leader in the future at work and at home.