How Successful Leaders Manage Emotions


Having the ability to manage emotions and remain calm under pressure is not a skill we are born with, but instead, is a skill that must be learned. It’s important to learn emotional management because, according to TalentSmart research, being able to remain calm under pressure has a direct link to work performance.

As a matter of fact, a study that involved more than one million people showed that 90 percent of top leaders and work performers were skilled at managing their emotions during times of stress. Their ‘skill’ was being able to remain calm and in control when under extreme pressure. Another reason to get a grip over out-of-control emotions is, according to a Yale study, prolonged stress has been found to cause denegation in areas of the brain responsible for self-control.


Stress, however, is not necessarily a bad thing. Actually, stress and the anxiety that comes with it, are necessary emotions that have been shown to heighten performance when people experience moderate levels of it. Research from the University of California show the onset of stress can actually entice the brain into growing cells responsible for improving memory. How then, does one go about learning the skill of emotional control?

 Stay positive. Focusing on positive thoughts is an effective way to divert your brain onto something that is completely stress-free. Any positive thoughts will re-focus your attention.

Learn to disconnect. If you make yourself available 24/7 you can expect a constant or prolonged barrage of stress. Technology makes it easy to be constantly plugged in, however, this is where drawing the line and turning off phones, shutting down computers and simply disconnecting at the end of a work day will put you in control of your emotional state.

Get enough sleep. The average adult requires between six and nine hours of sleep per night. Sleep is the only way your body and brain have to recharge. Without sufficient sleep, you will not wake up energetic and clear-headed. You will not be in control of your emotional state. Lack of sleep directly effects memory, attention and self-control.

Gain perspective. It’s one thing to have a perception of events, but it’s quite another to have a realistic perspective. Worries and stresses are created by skewed perceptions and are fueled even more by circumstances we cannot control. While we cannot control everything in our day, we can control our reactions. Instead of dwelling, take a few minutes to put things into proper perspective by making them more realistic. This will reduce your level of stress.

There are many ways to learn how to control your emotions and remain calm the way successful leaders do. Reach out to a support group, breath by practicing being in the moment and squash any negative self-talk. Most self-talk is generated out of fear, not facts so, don’t hand over your power to negativity.



Author: Divya Parekh (ACC, CPC, LL, MS) is an international career leadership coach, Head Career Coach at International Coach Academy, and CEO of The DP Group. She assists executives, professionals, coaches and students plan, develop and achieve their career and leadership goals. She has been recognized by Worldwide Who’s Who as ‘VIP of the Year’ for showing dedication, leadership and excellence in leadership coaching. She has also been recognized by NAPW as a ‘VIP Woman of the 2014 Year’ for outstanding leadership and commitment in coaching. She is founder of the 1/1/1 Leader Project. The project prides itself on being simple. Set a goal. Work towards achieving it. Give someone a smile. Be nice to another person. Make the world a little bit nicer. It’s free so get started today!

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