Staying Cool When You’re Hot Under the Collar by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

We all have our buttons, and we all have people and situations that can push them. However, as a professional and as a leader, we need to learn to stay cool in situations that have the potential to make us lose our cool. Here are some tips on how to keep yourself under control when you’re tempted to lose your cool.

  1. Get away from the situation. Your first reaction to a bad situation is not usually the most clear-headed reaction. Before reacting, give yourself time to think and cool off a little. Even if you find that the situation is still overwhelming and needs to be addressed, you’ll most likely handle it much better after some reflection. Remember to breathe.
  1. Consider the other perspective. It’s important to remember that we each see situations from our own perspective. Before you react to another person, try to see the situation from their perspective to gain some understanding.
  1. Plan your approach. It can be helpful to write down points you want to make with the other person and refer to these as you discuss the situation. Your list can help you stay on task rather than veering off into unnecessary territory when handling the situation.
  1. Get advice. This is another tip that’s all about perspective. When you’re angry, it can be difficult to see another person’s perspective on the situation. Talk to a trusted friend when you need help with this. They can let you know if your thoughts are reasonable or if you’re not thinking clearly.

Never let the fact that a situation makes you angry prevent you from addressing it, but never let the anger about the situation get the better of you, either.

As a leader, your immediate reaction to a situation will be remembered by those around you, and can either strengthen your reputation or tarnish it. It’s important that you protect your position as a leader by showing strength, maturity and intelligence whenever you deal with an uncomfortable situation. It isn’t always an easy thing to do, but learning to do so is an important art you must master as you grow in leadership.