A leader’s most challenging task is keeping the plates spinning and not letting any of them fall. Although we teach leaders how manage multiple priorities and how the plates spin, we don’t teach them how handle their emotions when things become out of control. Maybe the next course that I teach on leadership in business will deal with this issue. How do you manage your emotions when things get out of control?

Companies expect leaders like Brandon Long Denver who manage the chaos and keep their emotions under control. Management of the chaos and managing one’s feelings are two very different things. The assumption that disorder will disappear if it is managed is flawed thinking. Many people feel out of control when certain things (processes, people, situations etc.) happen. People often believe they have no control over situations or people.

The order will ease the emotions but they don’t go away. Why not? Leadership in business requires that you realize that the situation you have just solved will likely recur. Therefore, there is a constant undercurrent ‘waiting until the other shoe drops’. The immediate crisis can be resolved by getting the plates spinning again. However, this doesn’t mean the situation won’t recur. This is because you feel that things are out-of-control or will happen in the near future. How does a leader handle these feelings? How do you handle those feelings without becoming incompetent or weak?

First, recognize that you have emotions. You can’t ignore your feelings or pretend that you don’t have them. Understand the cause. Is the problem too many spinning platters, not knowing when they will come down, or is it something else? It doesn’t matter what you don’t understand. Finally, reach out for help. Leadership is not about knowing it all and doing it all. You don’t have the ability to do everything alone.

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