017: What Your Team Needs to Thrive, Part 3: Safe Leadership, Continued
Release Date: 04/09/2019
Are you a safe leader—meaning, can your team trust you not to respond in an exaggerated way when under stress? Or does your team walk on eggshells, fearing volatility or withdrawal when stress hits? If so, you’re setting a culture that tells your team they aren’t safe when times are tough.
We’re continuing our dialogue on the top three things your employees need to thrive: safety, appreciation, and inclusion. Your team’s number one need is a psychologically safe work environment, and that vibe always begins with you.
How to Become a Safe Leader
Your IQ and personality may be relatively set, but there’s limitless room for growth in your emotional intelligence. In this episode, I cover these practical tips that can help you improve your self-management against the triggers that often provoke you and turn you into Mr. Hyde.
- Become aware of and take control of your self-talk.
- Breathe. Gather your presence and become aware of what is going on within you. That can help you bring control to difficult moments in lieu of just reacting.
- Count to ten. Even a small pause can help diffuse the internal chain reaction that can often trigger when on auto-pilot.
- Sleep on it. Give yourself the gift of space away from the situation to think clearly. If something is particularly difficult, it’s okay to back out and ask for an overnight pause.
- Smile and laugh more.
- Clean up your sleep. Nothing is more critical to good self-management than getting good, quality sleep. Being well rested promotes a healthy reaction when under stress. Studies show that incomplete sleep cycles can drastically affect your emotional well-being.
- Visualize yourself succeeding. If I know I’m stepping into a particularly difficult encounter, my habit is to play out the worst case in my head before the situation happens. We are wired to anticipate the worst—it’s what provokes our fight or flight—so it takes effort and energy to go against the default failure mantra. Instead, intentionally visualize yourself successfully responding or communicating. Imagine yourself having a calm response and coming up with a positive solution. Remind yourself that this can change.
- Put a mental recharge into your schedule. Take time every day to pause, get outside, and take a break.
- Get feedback. Speak to someone who is not emotionally invested in your problem.
- Pay attention to your judgmental self-talk. When faced with stressful situations, we frequently default to “I always” or “I never.” Instead, turn these into “this time” or “sometimes.”
Give yourself and those around you the gift of improved self-management. Set the pace, and model the behavior you want to see; then you will have the authority to hold those around you accountable for their unsafe behaviors.