Merge's Blog

How to maintain your composure? Identify your main triggers.

You’ve probably found yourself in situations where you’ve come dangerously close to losing your composure.  Perhaps it’s a frustrating employee, an irritating colleague, or even an exasperating client; whatever the cause, you know that as a leader, it’s important to stay poised, positive and unflappable, even in trying moments, and to think clearly and stay focused when the pressure is on.  C’mon, we’ve all had the experience of doing something in the heat of the moment that we regretted later.  So what can you do to maintain your self-control?

The first step to exercising restraint is to identify your main triggers – the things that cause you to get upset, irritated or impatient.  It’s actually worth your while to make a list of the main triggers that get you all hot and bothered.  Perhaps it’s people interrupting you, colleagues who seem incompetent, someone who talks too much, folks who are rude, lateness, clutter, or too much noise.  Ask yourself: what are the things that not only irritate me, but also drain my mental capacity?   Once you can clearly articulate what causes you to lose your cool, you’ve just taken a giant step towards staying calm, composed and unruffled in the face of stress and strain.

In the coming months, I’ll periodically offer up other specific ideas for maintaining self-control.  But for now, I’d like to know what you do.  What specific actions do you take to keep your cool under pressure?  Do share!

4 thoughts on “How to maintain your composure? Identify your main triggers.

  1. To keep my composure, I divorce myself from any emotion attached to my job and workplace. Just STICK TO THE FACTS, no editorializing; no innuendo; no opinions; ignore iceberg statements (ones that really mean something else other than what was said)- DON’T respond to what isn’t being said. Don’t make assumptions; just listen to anyone who is really upset, until they “come down”; don’t worry about being right. Take time to respond – maybe don’t respond at all except to acknowledge you heard them, until you have time to digest it, think about it, and come up with the most reasonable response. Don’t ever respond if your own emotions are not under control. Sometimes a little time will make a HUGE difference.

  2. I completely agree with Darlene with not saying anything at all until your emotions are under control. However, how important it is to answer to the situation (in a smart way) on a timely basis? I have a hard time with my heart rising (making it difficult to talk)when someone “attacks” me. I wish I knew how to respond to those situations.

  3. Darlene, thanks for the great advice, I agree completely. Often, time is what is needed to create that distance that is so necessary to respond with composure and equanimity.

    Marcela, to reply to your question, it is important to respond to such a situation, at some point, but in your OWN time. Time is what will give you the space to respond well, but it is definitely not an excuse to not respond at all! It is critical to address such issues in a non-threatening and non-defensive way; if you just ignore it, it won’t go away; in fact it will just get worse! In future columns I’ll offer some specific advice, but for now I’d love to hear from all of you. Any recommendations for Marcela?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.