Emotional Balance

Emotional Balance

Recently, I was in discussion with a client. She was really upset. Something had gone terribly wrong. Between some staffing issues and a political situation concerning her organization in the news, things were not as rosy as one would hope. She was trying to stay calm and manage the situation, but her anger and rage was seeping through.

I thought back to my days as a restaurant manager. I had a vicious temper. I had no emotional balance. I let things get under my skin, such as a server who was not getting to the kitchen fast enough to pick up food while it was hot to get to the table, staff who arrived late, or a delivery that shorted us on a critical product. I would get really mad, not only about things I could not control, but also things I could. I only wish I knew back then what I know now and was able to convey to my client.

Emotional balance in our lives is critical. It is the ability to remain calm and clear-headed through stressful situations and crises. Emotional balance not only allows leaders to manage their emotions, but also spread their calm to those they lead. This is why it is so critical. So, what do I do today that I should have been doing in the 80s while managing large staffs in the hospitality industry? What secret did I share with my client?

The simplicity of it all is in a comparison. Comparing emotional balance to riding a bike changed things for me—when I recognized that emotional balance is more about what you don’t do than what you do. To ensure emotional balance, we need to focus on being positive and helpful rather than focusing on negative situations. Just like we need to make sure we don’t move the wheel too much, or lean one way or the other too much on a bicycle, we need to stay positive and ride the bicycle of emotional balance. Slow down the reactive negative thinking. Hold the bike steady, don’t sway too much, and you can keep riding. Be positive and watch the team follow you while you and navigate the crisis or bad situation. Your emotional balance determines not only your own bike ride, but also those whom you lead.

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