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  • Writer's pictureTom Vachet

Great Leaders Have Emotional Control


Co-workers arguing

When you react, you let others control you. When you respond, you are in control.

– Bohdi Sanders


Leadership is a complex and multifaceted phenomenon that involves influencing others to achieve a common goal. One of the key aspects of effective leadership is emotional control, which refers to the ability to regulate one's own emotions and respond appropriately to the emotions of others. Emotional control is essential for leaders because it enables them to:


- Maintain a positive and confident attitude, even in challenging or stressful situations.

- Communicate clearly and persuasively, without being affected by negative emotions such as anger, fear, or frustration.

- Build trust and rapport with followers, peers, and superiors, by showing empathy, respect, and appreciation.

- Inspire and motivate others, by expressing enthusiasm, passion, and optimism.

- Manage conflict and handle criticism, by being calm, assertive, and constructive.

- Adapt to changing circumstances and cope with uncertainty, by being flexible, resilient, and creative.


Emotional control is not about suppressing or ignoring one's emotions, but rather about recognizing, understanding, and managing them in a constructive way. Leaders who lack emotional control may experience negative consequences such as:


- Losing credibility and respect, by appearing weak, unstable, or irrational.

- Damaging relationships and teamwork, by alienating, offending, or hurting others.

- Reducing performance and productivity, by wasting time, energy, and resources on emotional reactions.

- Impairing decision making and problem solving, by being biased, impulsive, or rigid.

- Increasing stress and burnout, by being overwhelmed, anxious, or depressed.


Therefore, emotional control is a vital skill for leaders who want to achieve excellence and success in their roles. Emotional control can be developed and improved through various strategies such as:


- Self-awareness: Being aware of one's own emotions, triggers, and patterns of behavior.

- Self-regulation: Using techniques such as breathing, relaxation, meditation, or positive affirmations to calm oneself down and reduce emotional arousal.

- Self-reflection: Analyzing one's own emotional reactions and learning from them.

- Feedback: Seeking and accepting feedback from others on one's emotional behavior and impact.

- Empathy: Trying to understand the emotions of others and their perspectives.

- Social support: Seeking and providing support from others who can offer emotional guidance and comfort.


In conclusion, emotional control is a crucial component of leadership that enables leaders to influence others effectively and positively. Leaders who have emotional control can demonstrate confidence, clarity, trustworthiness, inspiration, assertiveness, and adaptability. Leaders who lack emotional control may suffer from loss of credibility, damaged relationships, reduced performance, impaired decision making, and increased stress. Emotional control can be enhanced through self-awareness, self-regulation, self-reflection, feedback, empathy, and social support.


Following is a terrific article on the subject:


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