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The danger of extreme emotion

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in Leaders & Managers,Management Training

Mountaineers will tell you that one of the most dangerous points during a tough climb immediately follows the triumph of reaching the summit. They are typically so overcome with joy that their elation threatens to divert their attention from the critical decisions they must make to descend safely.

Of course, too much pessimism can prove self-defeating as well. If you cannot derive deep satisfaction from the successful completion of a formidable project—and you’re preoccupied with the looming problems ahead—you can sabotage your effectiveness.

As a manager, your job is to set the right emotional tone for your employees. If you show extreme emotion and visibly react to cycles of victory and despair with uncontrolled passion, you can exhaust the very people you want to motivate.

Keeping your emotions in check matters more than ever as our role models misbehave. In recent months, foul-mouthed outbursts from sporting legends (from Tiger Woods in golf to Serena Williams in tennis) have tarnished their reputation. Managers may assume it’s okay to stomp their feet and curse because top athletes get away with it.

The next time you undergo emotional swings at work, maintain a calm demeanor. Breathe evenly and pause before speaking. Weigh the repercussions of what you say before you say it. Slow your vocal tempo so that every word counts.

If employees or peers display their unfettered emotions, resist the urge to mirror their behavior. Your ability to remain poised and unruffled enhances your credibility.

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