Dr. Melissa Matarazzo, Studer Education leader coach, became a principal when she was 29-years-old. Because her youth and inexperience were noticeable among veteran faculty, she sought to ensure that no one questioned her ability to lead. Dr. Matarazzo believed that, “executives, and particularly leaders, should be either stoic or cheerful; they must project confidence and damp down any negativity bubbling up inside them.”
A decade of leadership experience has firmly disproved that early belief. Our emotions deserve management, not suppression. Whenever we choose to lead, the pounding waves of emotion, buffeting us from all directions, can make staying “on an even keel” a challenge. Angry colleagues, frightened students, changing demands and day-to-day frustrations can make leaders feel like they’re riding a roller-coaster of feelings.
Managing your emotions can be challenging for both new and experienced leaders. Susan David and Christina Congleton wrote a highly detailed guide to Emotional Agility that explains how effective leaders manage their negative thoughts and feelings.
Watch Susan David explain how to be emotionally agile:
Interested in assessing your emotional agility? Take this quiz from Harvard Business Review.
For a quick read, check out Dan Casetta’s 5 Tips to Develop Better Control over Your Emotions, including the wise, “Focus on what you can control.” Take this tip, and do your best to follow David and Congleton’s guidance to tackle your feelings “in a mindful, values-driven, and productive way.”