One day you’re on the top of the world – everything is going your way. The next day you get a curveball and the world seems upside down. Sound familiar? Probably. Life is full of good times, bad times, and circumstances that can change in an instant. Personally, I think we can all agree we’ve experienced a never-ending emotional roller coaster ride over the last 18 months due to the COVID pandemic.

However, these ups and downs are part of life (albeit, what we are dealing with globally is quite extraordinary). With that said, It is ever important for us – especially those in leadership roles – to maintain a sense of calm and adaptability in the face of change. Learning to recognize and manage our emotions in times of turmoil is critical – not only to our own sanity, but for the success of those who look to us for guidance.

HOW we respond speaks to our own emotional intelligence. And as a leader, you are under the microscope – you are the example that others will follow. If you freak out, so will they. However, if you approach challenge with a level-head, they will too. Easier said than done, right? Learning to recognize and manage our emotions and behaviors takes time and practice – it’s really an ongoing learning experience that evolves as we age (always learning mindset). If you are looking to strengthen your emotional agility during tough times, consider the following strategies to get you started.

Know Your Triggers

We all have certain triggers that set off emotional responses – patterns of behavior, that are sometimes so hard-wired within us, it is hard to recognize without a conscious effort. When we fall victim to our negative patterns of thinking and behaving, we become rigid – unable to adapt to new ideas or obstacles that seem overwhelming. The first step is to recognize this tendency. Without accepting our flaws, we cannot begin to change. Practicing self-compassion as we recognize those flaws is a must to strengthening emotional agility.

Accept the Negatives

Having strong emotional intelligence does not mean you walk around in a blissful state 24/7, completely unphased by bad news, uncertainty, or challenge. You cannot evade or pretend bad things will not happen to you. Instead, those with emotional agility accept the negatives as part of life and they allow themselves to feel those negative emotions – in turn, modeling healthy, productive ways of responding.

Be Mindful & Flip the Script

When we are mindful of our emotional patterns and the behaviors that follow, we can then head the off and flip the script – turning a negative response into a positive (or at least not an outburst). The next time you get bad news or face unexpected challenge, instead of allowing yourself to respond on impulse, try asking yourself “Where are the opportunities in this challenge and how might those opportunities help my team/client/company?” With a simple flip of the script, you can turn a negative in a positive. Not always easy, but this simple shift in mindset will allow you the time and space to respond in a more emotionally intelligent and adaptable manner.

When leaders are more agile, organizations are more agile. It is an organic process – your company cannot handle challenge if the people within struggle themselves. With a little self-compassion, self-awareness, and a growth mindset, even the tallest of mountains can be climbed.

Looking for ideas on how to stay adaptable during times of change? Check out our website to learn more about Smarter Leadership Through Emotional Intelligence – East Tenth Group. If your organization is looking for a new perspective, I encourage you to contact my team and I at East Tenth Group today.