Receive some tips for managing yourself when triggered.
- Once you know your triggers, create a plan for managing them. This is the biggest aspect of exercising emotional self-control. We all know people who harm their careers or other key relationships because they didn't manage their triggers and engaged in behaviors that they couldn't easily recover from after they calmed down. So, I recommend having a clear plan. First, you want to anticipate what or who will likely trigger you. This is actually very empowering because by anticipating, you can do a lot to protect yourself.
Perhaps you can avoid the situation or change it enough to make it better for you. For example, you could switch the time and place or ask someone you trust to join you. Second, you want to have, what I call, a fire drill. This is your plan for once you've been triggered, so you can manage the reaction once it kicks off. Just like a real fire drill, it helps us to know what to do under stress. Consider these questions. How will you know you're triggered? What are some phrases you can have ready to say and even practice in advance? How can you gracefully get out of the situation? If leaving is not an option, consider how you can buy yourself a little time to calm yourself down.
Some legitimate options include needing to take a call, getting a drink of water, or using the restroom. High EQ people know that their triggers are normal and have a thoughtful plan for managing them when they happen. Third, consider adding mindfulness to your life. Mindfulness practices have been shown to reduce the reactivity of the amygdala and also help us gain a calm state quicker. Meditation, in particular, teaches people to take an observer stance, learning to watch their own thoughts or feeling from a bit of a distance.
That little bit of perspective helps people shift from being hijacked by a trigger to watching themselves be hijacked, which keeps them from making impulsive choices in the moment. As a leader, you want to be mindful of your own triggers, and also be compassionate when you see others who are triggered. Once someone has dropped down into their reptilian brain, they truly are not capable of behaving rationally until their higher brain comes back online. So, it's important to give a triggered person a little time and space to cool down.
Say something like, I can tell you have strong feelings about this, why don't we take a quick break for a few minutes; go take a walk or grab a snack and we'll reconvene in a bit. Another important point is that high EQ leaders know that triggers are at the heart of conflicts. Your people have a wide range of life experiences and triggers. Often the conflict between people, including senior executives, is really about them triggering each other without knowing it. In addition, the work environment tends to set off triggers.
Psychologists have long known that the hierarchy of any organization tends to mirror the hierarchy of a family unit. So, it's fairly common for people, even leaders, to unknowingly play out unhealed family issues at work. Explore how you can provide people with the tools and skills they need to increase their EQ and bring their best selves to work. Some examples includes making sure that your health benefits include services like therapy and coaching. Consider offering classes in emotional intelligence and also mindfulness practices like meditation and yoga.
High EQ leaders not only successfully manage their own triggers, but they also help others do the same.
- Analyze the brain science behind emotional intelligence.
- Identify and assess your emotions.
- Determine how to exercise emotional self-control.
- Identify your triggers and how to respond the them.
- Assess how others respond at work.
- Determine how to maximize team performance using emotional intelligence.
- Discover how to catalyze change.