Emotional Intelligence: Self-Management and Accountability

Vicki Noel, MLHR, SHRM-SPC, SPHR

Why are leaders hesitant to focus on this?

You may have heard of the phrase “putting yourself out there”. If you are earnestly trying to work on self-management, you will need help holding yourself accountable.   Some leaders are concerned that if they share with their team that they are not always “in control” that those they serve will think less of or not follow them.  Some leaders may view sharing leadership vulnerabilities as a sign of weakness.

What is the case for doing it anyway?

Well…I hate to break it to you, but those you serve ALREADY know all about your vulnerabilities as they see them every day in action! Ha!  When leaders acknowledge our weaknesses, and ask those around us for help and support it accomplishes two specific things: (1) we role model that it is OK to not be perfect and asking for help is important for the team’s effectiveness, and (2) we set the expectation for open feedback about our behavior that we need if we are going to improve our self-management skills.

How can you do it? 

  1. Share your goals with those you serve.  Much of self-management, as with any change of behavior (i.e. eating, exercise), is about motivation.  When you are a leader, there is nothing more powerful of a motivator than being accountable to those you serve for improving your behavior…and nothing more healing for those you work with to know that you are open about your struggles and asking for their help to improve.  We can use the expectations that others have for us as powerful motivators to change.
  2. Talk to a role model or the “un-invested”.  Most of our weaknesses in emotional intelligence are a result of skills that do not come naturally to us for one reason or another.  So…when you don’t know how to do something on the computer, you go to the techy-ist person in your department for help, right?  When we need help processing how we should (or how we did) react to a situation, we need to go to those role models who we see react appropriately in similar situations.  Another strategy would be to just talk through possible options with someone who is not invested in the situation within which you are immersed.  Their objective eyes might help put the situation in perspective
  3. Focus on options rather than limitations.  Changing behavior is hard.  And it is very tempting to give up when we face hard challenges or emotional set-backs.  Give yourself a break and stop wasting energy on the aspects of situations and others involved that you have no control over, and focus on yourself.  You always have options and you are in control of the options you choose to follow.

Can you describe a situation in which you shared your goals about self-management and how that worked for you?  Log on and join the conversation at www.somc.org/blog.  We learn best from each other’s experiences.

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