Project Tips: Managing Your Emotions

Managing our emotions is one of those basics. Its something that influences your effectiveness as a manager and a project manager. We all have a different style of dealing with conflict and adapt in situations. One of the most important elements is staying in control of your emotions. There are times all of us want to lash out at our superiors or peers for violating our boundaries, not “getting it”, interfering with our projects, crossing the line, stepping behind our backs, taking advantage of our absence and simply playing the old business game. You might be asking “why?”, so let me explain some of my learnings. I have learned by being in the trenches and still working at it every day. This is an important factor and relates to earlier posting on building trust in your team and relationships.

It is a crucial skill to master as a high performing project manager or manager. It is so easy to be caught up by our own feelings. This can lead to words said you regret later or short sighted decisions being made that you want to undo later. Emotions drive our actions so if you can control your emotions you can take deliberate and more effective actions. This requires the ability to reflect and objectively evaluate how you feel and work to achieve optimal results for your project and business.

So what can you do? Stay focused on the important things. Some issues the best course of action is to let it go. If you are in a hot situation there are a few things you can do to stay calm and collected. Here are a few tips to stay in control during those highly charged conversations.

Don’t speak if you can avoid it. Let others do the talking and carefully listen to issues at hand. Delay your reaction. Don’t let what someone says to you encourage the wrong reaction. The importance of think before you speak cannot be over emphasised. You should choose your words carefully when you speak, ensuring that you don’t hurt the sentiments of the person opposite you. You can later analyze the situation and find the solutions to what bothered you.

Stay focused on the outcome that is needed. Focus on the issues and not the emotion or attacks that might be expressed in frustration.

Be aware of your trigger points. If there are specific individuals that evoke more feelings, than be even more cautious about tone of voice and what is communicated.

– Learn from your responses and the reactions they cause in others. Constantly evaluate how you might respond differently. What would have been a better way to communicate. This is how you can continue to improve as it takes practice and application to get better over time.

Acknowledge rather than agree. It is possible to acknowledge that someone has a different point-of-view than you have without agreeing with their point-of-view. It is important that others feel heard, that you understand what their position is.

Find an outlet outside of work to express emotions. For me this is working out. By doing physical activity, I let the frustration go and can be more productive. It could be running, shopping, spending time with your family. Find what it is for you and know when to use it

These are a few fundamentals that will help you succeed at those critical conversations through the course of your projects. If you follow these simple tips, you will succeed at what you want to. Keeping a rein on your emotions while at work goes a long way in achieving healthier relations. It will also bring professional growth. Its critical to your project and critical to your success and reputation!

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