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Brain circuits

Managing mixed emotions at work

IbyIMD+ Published 23 December 2021 in Brain circuits • 4 min read

The ongoing pandemic and its uncertainties bring on a range of emotions. As a leader, you need to set the example and understand what is happening on your team.

Impulse control

Impulse control is about self-insight and subsequent self-regulation. You need to be able to answer the question ‘How do you avoid getting caught up in emotional rollercoasters?’ – and to do so without thinking about it twice.

It’s all about monitoring and regulating yourself from being too “hot” or “too cold” and avoiding getting distracted by self-absorption.

As Shai Weiss, the CEO of Virgin Atlantic, kept repeating to his team as the heavy clouds of the pandemic came into view for the airline: “It’s not about money. It’s not about ego. It’s about survival.”

Photo of a thermometer with snow on

The exercise

Step 1

Let’s imagine you are being “too cold” in your emotional responses as a leader right now, which would amount to not creating enough psychological safety in the current climate, perhaps just because you are too laidback or somewhat emotionally numbed from long stretches of working from home.

There is a natural tendency to become more lax about restrictions and policies, simply because people are worn down and want things to be normal.

Jot down some ideas on how you might rectify this and compare with mine:

  1. Keep the standards high: Make certain that the work environment is safe and healthy, for instance by providing access to testing, medical advice and psychological support for anxieties over about mental wellbeing.
  2. Reconnect with employees – new and old: Many people report having to overcome a sort of social awkwardness when they return. And don’t forget I recommend that anyone onboarded during COVID needs a new “day one”. Even though they are. strictly…
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