It is obvious that leadership roles bring big responsibilities and stress. So, having self-regulation mastery is another skill that a leader should posses along with other skillset. Leaders who self-manage skillfully do not compromise on their inner peace, values, can boost team morale and they are famous for being kind, thoughtful and rational decision-makers. 

 

There are many levels of self- regulation- thought, behavior and emotions. It means that they focus on different aspects of a human being for management. 

 

Self-regulation

In simple words, this is the self, controlling or managing the self in required situations using different healthy tools. Self regulation skill can be developed through personal development and there is also an option of seeking professional help for the people who find this labor laborious. 

 

We know that regulation is not just about emotions but it can also be of one’s thoughts and behaviors. Let’s explore these aspects in the following. 

Thought-focused regulation

Managing one’s negative thoughts is about thought regulation. Psychological literature highlights many thought biases or maladaptive thoughts like all or nothing thinking i.e. thinking in extremes, reasoning through emotions, exaggeration, making quick conclusions i.e. without sufficient evidence, reading other’s minds, making negative predictions about the future, disqualifying the positives in any situations, and thinking rigid ‘should’ statements. 

All or nothing thought: I will always be a loser.

Rigid ‘should’ statements: I should always be smiling.

Behavior-oriented regulation

It is about adjusting one’s behavior keeping in mind their values, and long-term goals. In other words, the individual does what they do not feel like doing. For example, waking up in the morning for exercise despite lack of motivation and eating vegetables for weight loss even though they are undesirable. 

Emotional regulation

The focus here is on emotional management. This can be easily understood with an example of stress. Recently, due to the pandemic people have experienced a lot of stress so those who indulged in mood-boosting activities coped really well with all the stress and fear as compared to others. Furthermore, emotional management also requires emotional intelligence. We know that it is about recognizing emotions in oneself and others. Emotional intelligence also enables one to manage their stress like a pro. Hence, stress management skill also increases. 

Value of regulating the self for leadership

Self-management in a leader means no impulsive decisions, shrewd judgment, unique advantage, and high team morale. Let’s understand more. No impulsive/ snap decisions mean consideration of all possible outcomes before any commitment, shrewd judgment means objective outlook at the self, the organization, at work, and towards the behavior of team members. This allows a leader to come up with better techniques for the betterment of the company, team members, and even the person himself. In other words, the leader’s perspective will not be influenced by his emotions. 

Connection with leadership

Self-regulation improves leadership skills like conflict management, decision making, inspirational ability, risk-taking, and the ability to give and receive feedback. The leaders who use cognitive reappraisal often for self-adjustment get desirable results whereas those leaders who employ suppression strategy end up making matters worse than before. 

The Tools

Suppression vs reappraisal technique

Suppression is used by the majority of the population even though it is highly maladaptive because of the repercussions. Such unpleasant consequences include unpredictable angry outbursts, weak social bonds, an increase in the frequency of unpleasant emotions, poor memory, reduced quality of life, and unpleasant health issues like hypertension.

There is a better way called cognitive reappraisal to handle things. It is about looking at a triggering situation in a different way of looking at it as a whole/ in a bigger context. This requires keeping an open mind. Hence, changing the thinking leads to a change in emotions. 

Respond, not react

This is connected with behavioral regulation and requires self-monitoring skills. When an individual notices that (in a setting) their unpleasant emotions (e.g. anger) are rising up and thoughts are racing uncontrollably then it is the right time to seek isolation to calm down for better. Additionally, for enhancing one’s response-ability against internal or external anger, a person can enroll in an anger management course

Use anchor phrases/ thoughts

This is related to thought-focused management. When in a high-stress situation, a leader notices that his thoughts are getting negative and they are racing wildly then he should engage in this practice. 

For example, I am okay and I can handle things just like I practiced several times before I am safe and sound here.

Breathing exercise

It is one of the best tools to regulate the self on all levels- thoughts, emotions, and behavior. Commonly breathing exercises are used to regulate emotions. The best way to learn breathing exercises is through an online meditation course. An Online meditation class has the flexibility of time and self-paced learning. 

Concluding words

In sum, a leader’s emotional vibes impact the environment and inner peace of a corporation. The leader is a role model for others. So, being a well-regulated leader is a big responsibility. To aid the learning of self-regulation techniques, there are self-development courses available for improving skills online. Furthermore, to learn anger management there are anger management classes available online by professionals.