8 Ways to Regulate Molten Balls of Unchecked Emotion

“I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies, for the hardest victory is over self.” –Aristotle

Imagine a small molten ball of unchecked emotion that can only thrash and scream in your arms.

It can’t communicate. It can’t take care of itself.

It can’t stop.

Even if it’s only for 5 minutes, 15 minutes or even more, with enough repetition it can take its toll.

Creating yet another much larger molten ball of unchecked emotion that spreads like volcanic wildfire that can then all go to heck in a hand basket immediately.

And that’s what it can be like with a newborn and a toddler in the house. (Take from "new daddy" me.)

Now imagine that playing out in the workplace (or maybe you’ve lived it or are living it).

If we leave ourselves unchecked, we are chaos:

  • More than 28 percent of companies with 250 to 999 employees said they had an incident of workplace violence over a year period.
  • 37 percent of all Americans report being bullied now or at some point in their careers.
  • The annual cost of lost productivity due to domestic violence is estimated as $727.8 million with over 7.9 million paid workdays lost per year.

These are only a few examples and isn’t even taking into account less extreme examples of poor interpersonal communication, ineffective supervision and leadership, low employee engagement, little to no training and development programs, little to no personal responsibility or self-policing.

But oh how we like a little drama in our humdrum daily lives. We love the Rodan (Oracle) versus Mothra (HP) battles. We love the political races raciness and toxicity.

And then there’s the soundbite I keep hearing everywhere:

“Shouldn’t character count?”

Right on, brothers and sisters.

Mood and emotional reaction affects behavior and performance. Behavior and performance affects mood and emotional reaction.

What if we behaved better, had more self-awareness and self-management? What if our leadership created a culture where that behavior is rewarded?

That’s the trick with the treat, isn’t it?

Take these eight brief suggestions for example.

The Ability to Pause. Perceive. Prepare. Plan.

  1. Take time to analyze, problem solve, solution find before responding to significant challenges
  2. Learn to “catch” your emotions before they trigger
  3. Plan and prepare for difficult situations from lessons learned by self and others
  4. Develop flexibility in dealing with changing situations and obstacles
  5. Discipline yourself, reshape your responses and redirect your reactions
  6. Take care of your body, mind and heart
  7. Focus on trustworthiness: consistency, align to core values, tell the truth
  8. Let others know what you need from them

As the kids say, check yourself before you wreck yourself and others.

We’re all responsible for leading self, but some of us lead with others in teams and some of us lead others in entire organizations big and small.

We need to employ personal responsibility and emotional intelligence in our places of work. Those are the co-workers I want.

Be better and brighter.

(An earlier version was originally published at Leaders. Better. Brighter.)