The power of emotions over performance

Sue WillcockCoaching and Mentoring, Food for Thought, Leadership Development ProgrammesLeave a Comment

Whilst working on my book Help, I’m a Manager, I have noticed the extent to which my own performance has often been dictated by feelings and emotions.  Moments of self-doubt, worry, fear, frustration, alongside ‘punch the air’ moments – all these either slowed me down or sped the project along.
In this blog I’ve reflected on how our feelings play out in terms of our performance at work. Much has been written on ‘emotional resilience’ as a key ingredient to success or, in shorthand, ‘our ability to cope’.   How can we build this into our lives on a day to day basis in order to grow, try new things and realise our goals without fear, worry or overwhelm stopping us?
And, if we manage others, how can we help them do the same?
Here are five things that definitely helped me make the book a reality and be more resilient along the way.  They may help you and those you work with too.
Surround yourself with a supportive network. The word ‘supportive’ is important. If I had listened to the naysayers and the Merchants of Doom, I would have never got past a Word file on my laptop.
Approaching a ‘New Thing’ as a chance to learn. This mindset helped me accept change as inevitable and accept when things moved slower than I would have liked.  Because I knew I was learning.
Be clear on your goal, but be flexible too so you can approach change positively. I set a goal, but did flex on the way. Early readers of the first proof liked the casual style of writing and wanted more of that. Others wanted summaries at the end of each chapter so it became a more informal book as a result.  I used to be so goal driven that I dealt with change as an irritant. As I have ‘matured’ (!) I try to see it as a chance to make something better.
Know that we all have self-doubt at times. It’s how we respond to it and that can make a difference to the end result. Remember the film ‘Finding Nemo’? Sometimes we need to “just keep swimming”.
Listen to your mind and body. There were times when the most productive thing I could do was stop and do something else. Like sleep. Or eat something healthy and energy boosting.  I once heard a comedian say that some days he just felt like the world was against him and was angry with everything and everyone.  And then he realised he just needed lunch.
If you manage people, ask yourself if you are supporting your team in these areas – are you enthusiastic about their goals or are you a “Merchant of Doom”? Remember a negative or sarcastic comment can leave someone crushed, seething or stewing over a problem whereas an encouraging comment can see them working at their best.   Do you build time into projects/goals for learning and reflection? What types of goal do you set? Are they outcome focused, with due regard for flexibility, creativity and innovation with time allowed for taking on board feedback? Are you watching out for wellbeing?
I do hope you get a chance to take a look at www.helpimamanager.com.   As I’ve mentioned, the writing and production process has been a learning curve, but also loads of fun, in amongst the moments requiring more resilience.

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