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Tag Archives: staying calm

Identify Triggers and Keep Your Cool

Picture of man pointing and yelling, showing loss of self control.

Have you ever come dangerously close to losing your composure?

We’ve all been there. Sometimes—if we can’t control ourselves—it can lead to disastrous situations and negative impacts on relationships, employees, and colleagues.

Whether it’s a frustrating employee, irritating colleague, or even an exasperating client, you know that as a leader it is crucial to stay calm, poised, and positive.

What do you do in these situations?
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Maintaining your composure – do you react or respond?

I have blogged many times about how important maintaining your composure is for you as a leader, even in trying situations. Doing math, managing your actions, and identifying main triggers have been suggestions I’ve made in the past. Lately, this issue came to the top of my mind again.

SpiderDuring a recent trip to Hong Kong, I found myself seated at a small table in a tiny streetside outdoor café one afternoon. There were only four other tables, equally small, all of them occupied. Suddenly, the two well-dressed women at one of the corner tables screamed loudly almost in unison, and stood up, shouting rapidly, nearly knocking over the table in their haste to get away. Even though I don’t understand Cantonese, it didn’t take me long to figure out what happened. A giant furry brown-and-white spider, still suspended by a remnant of a cobweb, had dropped down from the tree above, and come to a stop almost in front of the faces of the two women. Startled and obviously distressed, they almost knocked over their coffees and desserts in their rush to get as far as possible from the monster arachnid. It was mere seconds later that the café owner stepped from behind his counter, walked over to the table, gently lifted the offending spider and placed it on a bush a few feet away. The two women, still rapidly speaking in Cantonese, continued to be unnerved and agitated, presumably by the spider’s size.

As I watched the drama unfold over a matter of minutes, it occurred to me that it wasn’t the spider that caused the turmoil. Continue reading

Don’t let your anger send the wrong message to your staff and co-workers

businessman in anger screaming puff going out from earsLet’s face it, if you’re in a position of leadership, there are times when your staff (or your peers, or your boss) will do or say stupid things that will drive you nuts, enough that their actions may cause you to get angry enough to explode. Don’t. Your expression of anger says more about you than it does about them. When you get visibly angry, what you’re really saying, whether you mean to or not, is “I feel like I have lost control, so I have lost control.” What you’re really doing is saying that you feel helpless. Which often is the exact message that you don’t want to communicate.

Instead, improve your success as a leader by learning how to manage your anger. Here’s an approach that I’ve used for many years. Continue reading

How to maintain your composure? Do math!

We’ve all had the experience of saying or doing something in the heat of the moment that we’ve regretted later. And in a professional environment, its consequences can carry serious negative repercussions to both career and business success. Even one inappropriate emotional outburst can tarnish your reputation for years to come. So it’s worthwhile knowing how to stay composed, positive and unflappable even in trying moments, and learning how to think clearly and stay focused under pressure. In previous blog posts addressing this subject, I’ve offered two ideas:

Identify your main triggers

Know that your actions will control the outcome of any situation

DoingMathHere is one more: do math! Yes, I know it sounds silly, but it’s actually VERY effective. When you’re facing stressful or difficult circumstances, the emotional centre of your brain (known as the amygdala) takes over. Math however is a logical activity which takes place in your neo-cortex, a separate part of your brain. By doing a math problem in your head, you will engage the logical neo-cortex of your brain and overcome the emotions centred in the amygdala. Continue reading

How to maintain your composure? Know that your actions will control the outcome of any situation.

Almost two years ago I wrote a blog post titled How to maintain your composure? Identify your main triggers. In it, I promised that I would offer additional ideas in future blog posts, and then of course, I promptly forgot! Well, I received an email last week from a reader who was surfing the archives and he gently pointed out to me that I had not kept my word! So for Jeremy (and anyone else who works with clients or employees who “push your buttons”), today’s blog post is for you!

When you find yourself in situations where you’ve come dangerously close to losing your cool because of a frustrating employee, an irritating colleague, or even an exasperating client, it’s important to recognize that that these people are behaving predictably. Your past experience with any specific one of these people means that you can expect or at least guess what they are going to say or do that will make you upset or angry. Realizing that this behaviour is predictable AND that they’re not going to change their behaviour MEANS that the only thing you can change is your own response or behaviour. Managing how you react will improve your control of the situation. Continue reading

How to stay calm and composed even in the most trying situations

We’ve all had the experience of saying or doing something in the heat of the moment that we’ve regretted later. And in a professional environment, its consequences can carry serious negative repercussions to both career and business success.   Even one inappropriate emotional outburst can tarnish your reputation for years to come.  So it’s certainly worthwhile learning how to think clearly and stay focused under pressure.  In this latest issue of CGA Magazine, I offer three proven tactics to to stay composed, positive and unflappable. even in trying moments.

Keeping Your Cool Under Pressure

Give it a read and then come on back to the blog and add your tips to the list. I know we could all use the help!