Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Art of Self-Contol

Self-control is an extremely valuable skill, especially if you're a leader. If you have it, you can lead ordinary teams to amazing results. If you don't have it, amazing teams will quickly disintegrate. Do you have self-control? Lets take a look at the definition and 3 components of self-control.

Definition - n. the restraint of one's feelings and actions.

Component 1 - Controlled Anger
Anger is not a bad thing. It is a natural human emotion, but if we allow it to take over our bodies, minds and soul, it will ruin us and our career. Uncontrolled anger is the result of being unable to handle the results of a bad situation. Being slow to anger is the most important aspect of controlling anger. You can't change the result of what has happened to this point, so don't let your anger focus you on the past. Last, failure to control your anger will tear down the trust in your organization like a tornado tears down a house that took months to build.

Component 2 - Controlled Ambition
Wanting to succeed professionally is not a bad thing. Like anger, it is a very natural human quality. Where it goes wrong is when leaders focus on making themselves successful rather than making others successful. Lets be honest. No one wants to follow a leader that touts all that he has done. In order to control your ambition, focus on promoting and celebrating the work of others. They deserve it. By helping others to grow in their work, your leadership will also grow. Be patient, your professional aspirations will be realized in due time.

Component 3 - Controlled Selfishness
Being selfish means to do things for yourself with no regard for others. How can you lead when you have no regard for others? The time that you invest in a behavior is borrowed from something else. Do you invest time in things that satisfy yourself or satisfy others? Do you deny others' needs for your selfish ambition? Are you unwilling to ask difficult questions because the answers may reveal weaknesses in your leadership? If you fail to control you selfishness, you hurt others and yourself by limiting or controlling your own potential.

No leader is perfect at self control, but I have seen some excellent strategies that leaders have used to control themselves. The main trait that I have seen in these leaders is the art of patience and calmness in the storm. In difficult times, they are calm and composed, and as a result, they can move the problem to solutions quickly. They know what they can control and what they cannot control. They can't control people, but they can influence them positively with their calm demeanor. Ultimately, they understand that in order to positively impact an organization, they must control their actions, words and emotions with self-discipline, self-actualization and most importantly self-humility.

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