Aké Satia is the Chief Vision Officer at Aké Satia, a Human Capital firm in the DC area focused on strengthening organizations by bolstering the intersection of people strategy and business strategy.



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True Leaders Know The Importance Of Regulating Emotions

In the last blog: True Leaders Know How to Navigate From Resignations To Negotiations , I discussed the instability in employer-employee relationships, today. And I referred to the current employment state as a move from the Great Resignation to the Great Negotiation.

Most of us are familiar with negotiating. Because we engage in negotiations often, whether we are bargaining for a better selling price on a car, trying to postpone the due date for a deliverable, or trying to convince our kids to eat their veggies! – Negotiating is simply attempting to reach an agreement through discussion with others. And it is an activity that can give rise to tense situations and heightened emotions.

If you are uncomfortable expressing feelings, you might be inclined to stop reading immediately! And if that is what you are thinking, I would encourage you to take a moment to consider an indisputable reality – We all have emotions, and how we feel impacts what we choose to do.

To further illustrate this, let me share a personal story. When I was younger, I lived in Washington state for some time. And on a Saturday morning, I decided to go to one of my favorite shopping malls and buy a dress for a special occasion. When I arrived at the mall, I parked my car in a parking space next to a pole. Unfortunately, the metal pole was rusty, and as I attempted to straighten my car in the parking spot, I heard the sound that every driver dreads! – The sound of metal rubbing against metal. Frazzled, I quickly glanced at the rear-view mirror and noticed that some of the paint on the door had chipped off. Oh No! Distraught, I immediately got out of the car, and without giving it much thought, I began to use my right hand to buff out the scratch. Suddenly, I saw blood dripping, and I screamed in pain! Aargh! Immediately, I got back into my car and began frantically searching for Kleenex. – And as I sat in my car, staring at my bleeding fingers, I could not believe what I had just done!

Because intellectually, I knew human fingers could not buff out a metal scratch from a car. But at the time, I was frustrated and did not think clearly! Now, you might be thinking: What an odd reaction! That’s a little far out! And I understand why you might feel that way! But I bet when you think about your past, you can remember doing something that didn’t quite make logical sense! And if so, welcome to the club of human beings! – We all tend to react emotionally sometimes. And it benefits us to know how to regulate emotions – to keep them in check!

Notably, regulating emotions sometimes requires waiting, contemplating, getting advice, or not responding immediately. And to do this effectively requires discernment. In an earlier blog, I shared a few ways to build the skill of discernment. And being discerning or using good judgment is critical to regulating emotions. Because by using good judgment, we know when to move or be still and when to speak or be silent.

When I reflected on the experience of trying to buff out the scratch on my car door when I was younger, I realized that a discerning approach would have been to pause and think before acting. Fortunately, valuable lessons often lie in negative experiences!

And knowing how to regulate emotions doesn’t just benefit us. – It benefits others as well. And this is critical for leadership. – Because a leader’s legacy is directly tied to their impact on the lives of others.

In Adversity Brings Balance, I shared about working with a man named Chad who wanted to sue the company he worked for because he felt unfairly treated – unheard, disrespected, and devalued.

Notably, Chad had raised his concerns with his leaders, and they responded by telling him why he was wrong. And the leaders behaved in this manner because they assumed Chad was out to get them. But their reaction did not benefit them. Instead, it contributed to Chad’s frustration and strengthened his desire to sue the company.

As I worked with Chad, it became apparent that the leaders could have resolved the conflict earlier by regulating their emotions – i.e., not assuming the worst and acting based on their feelings. – We can all fall prey to this behavior. And it is worth knowing how to regulate emotions!

Reflect and Imagine

Approach discussions and interactions to defuse tension, not incite it.

Here is a way to ensure your approach supports your goals before having an intense conversation:
Ask yourself: What do I intend to communicate? Also, consider doing a dry run with a trusted friend. i.e., Tell them what you intend to say. And ask them what they heard and how the message made them feel.

By speaking the words aloud to a friend, you may realize that the words you intend to use are more likely to incite tension than defuse it. And you can choose to course correct.

For you and to you,

Aké Satia



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