A comment that feels like an insult. An ignored email. A missed deadline that impacts the whole team. Keeping our composure at work can be challenging when we feel personally attacked or disappointed. Yet, while we can’t control the behavior of others, we can control how we react. And our emotional responses can change our careers in an instant.
Self-Management in the Media
During Meg Whitman’s tenure as CEO of eBay, she allegedly yelled at an employee, who was attempting to prep her for an interview, and proceeded to shove the individual. Negative press and a lawsuit followed, leaving a mark on her personal brand. While this is a more extreme example, chances are, you have a personal scenario that makes you cringe. That’s because Meg’s not alone; stress can bring out the worst in all of us.
On the other hand, a leader like Howard Schultz knows the power of authenticity. Following a controversial arrest of two black men at a Philadelphia Starbucks, he sat down for an emotional interview and showed his vulnerability and willingness to learn from mistakes. He then closed down every store for a day of employee racial-bias training. In this case, Schultz handled a very tense situation with a genuine response and a commitment to company change.
Both of these responses influenced public opinion. And they told us a lot about the most important components of self-management: self-control and an ability to manage decisions related to time or priorities. This is the difference between preparing and managing daily schedules, or reacting and adding stress to our plate.
The Keys to Successful Self-Management
Maintaining self-control requires you to take responsibility. To plan for situations and events, so that your behaviors and responses are in line with your values. And to go beyond just accepting responsibility to taking initiative to prevent or resolve problems. This not only helps you reach your goals, but as a leader, it allows you to set an example for your team and demonstrate how self-control, pro-activity and patience benefit everyone.
The other piece of self-management—the oversight of your time and priorities—is what helps you to be your most productive. This also allows you to change direction as needed and adapt to new situations without fear. When you’re not overwhelmed, you will feel calmer and more prepared to make rational decisions that best serve your organization. And when this behavior comes from the top, your team will follow suit and find a better work-life balance while achieving shared goals.
Reflect on your own skills with our 10 signs of successful self-management guide. Download it now to explore key areas of self-development and commit to continued growth in your leadership style. Remember, whether it feels that way or not, you’re leading by example. With all eyes on you, it’s important demonstrate self-control by learning from Meg’s experience and following Howard’s positive example.