EQ Component 2: Developing Self-Regulation

“He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still.” –  Lao Tzu

This is part of my ongoing series of blogs about Emotional Intelligence (EQ).

The second component of EQ in the common framework of understanding the subject is Self-RegulationDaniel Goleman, who is acknowledged as the thought leader in this field, defines Self-Regulation as:

“The ability to control or redirect disruptive impulses and moods; the propensity to suspend judgment – to think before you act.”

developing self-regulationWhat are the characteristics of effective Self-Regulation?  Research indicates there are three key components.

  • Trustworthiness and Integrity
  • Comfort with Ambiguity
  • Openness to Change

In your EQ Action Plan (which I referred to in my last two blogs), you now have three measurable areas to track your progress toward improving your leadership skills in Self-Regulation.

Let’s talk about some “tools for your toolbox” to get going with developing Self-Regulation:

  1. Develop a Personal Leadership Philosophy, including a Personal Mission Statement. This one-page document should describe who you are and what you represent.  Here you can state what your values are, and others can hold you to them.
  2. Challenge Yourself with a Task You Know Little About. Most of us tend to gravitate toward those tasks we know well, because we feel confident that we will succeed at them.  The highest EQ leaders I know fight that tendency, even though there is some chance they might fail.
  3. At Meetings You’re in Charge of, Speak Last. I spent most of my leadership career speaking first – and thus stifling some great ideas in the process.  You’ll probably learn a lot from your team using this technique – since they won’t just be going along with what you’ve already said.
  4. Develop Tactical Patience. Remember: the first report is often wrong.  Unless it’s an emergency, let your team members come up with courses of action and recommendations when a problem arises.

At a dedicated time each week, update your EQ Action Plan on Self-Regulation.  Enter the days and times you have worked on these four techniques.  Cite examples where you employed them.

These consistent actions will help you develop “the propensity to suspend judgment – to think before you act.”  As I mentioned in the last blog, start teaching your leaders how to build their EQ Action Plans, too.  It will take some time, but I think you’ll see measurable results – in yourself, and those you serve.

Enjoy the journey!

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