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Control Your Emotions and Reach the Top!
by Carole Nicolaides

Socrates knew it all along. If you want to succeed in life you must "know thyself." This is the first step for everything and for anybody who wants to make a difference in his or her life. The ability to listen to our own emotions, wants, desires and needs is as important as listening to others. In addition, putting the understanding of your emotions (and those of others) into practice is equally important. There are times all of us want to lash out at our superiors or peers for violating our boundaries, not "getting it", interfering with our projects, crossing the line, stepping behind our backs, taking advantage of our absence and simply playing the old and cold business game.

Those are only natural feelings. Everyone has had them from time to time. However, what you DO with those feelings and emotions is what counts. Controlling your anger and frustration and learning to perform more productively under stressful circumstances is the defining factor.

Unfortunately, changing your emotional response to others is considered a "lifestyle change". And, as we all know, those are the most difficult to implement and maintain. If changing unproductive habits were as simple as being aware of them, we'd all be living ideal lives. Changing habits and behaviors takes more than awareness and self-knowledge. This is why traditional training (such as books, audio tapes, video training and workshops) often falls short in creating long-term change. They don't offer a consistent support system… the one thing that is vital to maintaining new behaviors.

I recommend that you find a mentor or coach to assist with this process. After all, there is an elegant beauty apparent in people that can remain calm when no one else can. Aristotle said, "Anyone can become angry - that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, in the right way - this is not easy."

The insights below will help you lay down a solid foundation for managing your emotions and progressing forward in your career.

1. Learn rather than defend. Instead of going into a defensive mode and trying to protect or force your views, learn from the situation. Ask yourself what is really going on with that upset employee or coworker. The old saying is true, "When you change someone's point-of-view against their will, you've never truly changed them." From the moment you lose control and retaliate (even if you are right) you've lost the battle. However, by controlling your emotions and investigating the other's viewpoint, you open yourself to a calm and enlightening discussion.

2. Acknowledge rather than agree. It is possible to acknowledge that someone has a different point-of-view than you have without agreeing with their point-of-view. What happens, more often than not, is that the more strongly someone disagrees with us, the more adamant we becoming about convincing them we are right. Before the situation gets out of control, ask yourself, "How important is it that they agree with me?" If the answer comes down to a matter of personal pride - let it go. Acknowledge and respect other's views, the fact that you have a conflicting opinion and allow the conversation to drift to another topic.

3. Express your emotions. Expressing empathy and being emotionally honest is one of the things that will make you a true leader. Everyone you work with already knows you are human. When you share your strengths, weaknesses, triumphs and trials honestly with those around you, you make a more personal connection. Let us never forget, people follow those they like. While your primary concern at the office may not be to make friends; opening yourself up to your team will help develop a sense of trust and loyalty towards you.

4. Stay in integrity with your values. Emotional control does not equate to silence. Just the opposite. When a difficult subject needs to be addressed, you will be fully able to do so… with a level head. When the truth needs to be told, you will be a person other's look to. By showing others you are filled with integrity and you stand by your values will help to define your reputation. Respect always follow those whose "yes" means "yes" and whose "no" means "no".

5. Tactfully handle the negative. It seems, regardless the size of organization you work for, that negative people will always be present. These are the ones that continually complain, create confrontations and lack control of their emotions. If their contribution to your team does not outweigh the damaging attitude, you may want to consider having them transferred to a position where they would be more suited. Be aware of these personality types. Also be prepared to handle the challenges they will bring to you as you prepare to develop your new emotional steadiness.

Progressive leaders are emotionally stable leaders. They are the ones others turn to during a crisis. They are the ones that become the beacon of true leadership. They are the ones that make it to the top!

Carole is President and Executive Coach of Progressive Leadership, offering executive coaching, organizational development consulting and leadership development training. Improve your business relationships, communication, team performance and bottom line starting now. Visit for more info & subscribe to Carole's FREE Ezine.

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