Self Control is a Finite Resource

Is your self-control a finite resource?

The difference between a boss and a leader can often be one thing: how they react.

If you’ve ever lost your temper in a meeting or with a colleague, you know how damaging losing yourself can be. Luckily, for most of us, we may not blow up often, but we lose control in smaller, yet just as impactful ways. When we manage people our self-control is even more essential or we can impact people’s confidence in how they do their work.

Consequences of not having self-control as a leader and as an employee

  1. Little respect for your leadership: what I’ve noticed in my coaching is that employees tend to steer towards more deviant or disrespectful behavior when the leader seems to lack self-control. This disrespectful behavior may show up as argumentative or even as far as taking office supplies. 
  2. Decreased communication: employees less likely to speak up if they see problems at work, less likely to help fellow employees, and less likely to engage in team goals if they feel like their contributions are a risk to triggering a boss..
  3. Reduced job performance: Lower self-control can make even the greatest leaders less efficient and effective. When a leader is focused on emotions rather than action, they waste energy and effort. 
  4. Team dynamics suffer: When a leader doesn’t express self-control an entire team can follow their leadership. A team of people lacking self-control is a bomb ready to explode in your business. 
  5. High turn-over: No one likes training the same position over and over and that is what happens when employees don’t feel respected. 

Why we lose our self-control:

 Have you ever had those moments where nothing from the back of your brain feels like it is reaching the front of your brain? It happens to everyone. Just like our bodies, our brains also get fatigued, and with that fatigue often comes a loss of self-control. 

Top reasons we lose self-control:

Our own needs aren’t being met: When we are overworking ourselves and not taking a break, our brains sometimes can not keep up.  This can lead to us getting sick or not being able to be productive. Give yourself a break and find a way to reset.

We get emotional: When we are emotionally triggered, we are most likely to lose control. Take a moment. Look at the situation from an observer stance, take a walk, and come back with a new perspective.

Tired or over-worked: When we feel like there are unlimited deadlines with unending to-do lists, we can lose our temper or self-control. We make choices we normally wouldn’t and they can have dire effects.  

Seeing deficient self-control

Sometimes it is hard for us to solve issues that we cannot see ourselves, so by being able to spot our coworkers’ loss of self-control can help your team as a whole come together and grow. Being able to spot and remedy each other’s weaknesses is one road to success. Some ways you can tell someone’s loss of self-control include: being unable to adapt to difficult situations, reacting badly when receiving negative news, emotional outbursts, and just saying what comes to mind without a filter. 

Stop the cycle

Want to improve your self-control?

Some basic ways are to make sure you:

  • Take really good care of your physical body. Get sleep, eat lunch (and not at your desk), and all those things you know you should be doing. 
  • Get a coach to help you look at your priorities, your stress levels.
  • Have someone on your team, or a coaching partner to your team, be in charge of speaking with each team member and getting feedback. 
  • Do regular personal reviews to touch base with everyone on your team and share feedback. (Download a Coaching Leader Guide here.)

Self-control is essential as a leader. 

Business changes every day. Change is one of the most stressful factors in life. If you are not able to adapt to new technologies or change the way you’ve always done things, you are at risk of losing your self-control. Are you adaptable? Find out in this self-assessment in just minutes!

Take the quiz!

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