Can You Control Your Emotional Wake?

Like boats, people create wakes -- swells of good feeling, ripples of irritation, or frothing waves of drama and crisis. These emotional wakes can either spur engagement or thwart it, which is why effective leaders are mindful of the impact they have on those around them.

What effect do you have on your team members?

Consider the seven core emotions--love, joy, hope, envy, sadness, anger, fear. After tracking your over emotions over a period of time, what's the pattern that you notice?

Your answer is an indication of your emotional set point as well as the type of wake that people associate with you.

Do you love what you do? Are you excited to go to work everyday? Then you reside in the emotional set point of love or joy, and you're probably generating an emotional wake that inspires and energizes those around you.

Do you constantly erupt in angry outbursts or act out of resentment? Or has a personal loss left you continually sad? If you're locked into emotions like these, you'll have an emotional wake that ripples out negativity wherever you go.

No one wants to work their heart out for someone who makes them feel bad.

Can you change your emotional set point?

Absolutely. And once you do, you'll start generating the kind of positive emotional wake that inspires superior performance in others.

Developing self awareness and self regulation will raise your emotional intelligence and have a measurable impact on how people perceive you. Here's how:

1.) Start by developing an awareness of your emotions.

Being aware of your emotional state is the first step in keeping it from negatively affecting others.

Get a notebook and for the next 30 days track how you're feeling. You can also use voice dictation and an app like Notes to record your thoughts in a digital journal. Set an alarm on your phone so that 4 times a day you stop and ask yourself, "What emotion am I experiencing right now?"  Describe what you're feeling and why.

Here's an example: "9:35. Feeling angry at myself. The morning got off to a bad start when I couldn't find parking and was late for the meeting."

Keeping a journal for 30 days will give you a sense of which emotional state you tend to reside in.

2.) Next use self regulation to move yourself out of negative emotions.

You can't change the fact that you're late for a meeting, but you CAN consciously choose whether you bring your frustration inside or leave it at the door. You do that by actively refocusing your attention on moving forward.

How? Resolve to make it a habit to leave earlier and then think about things that will shift you out of your current emotional state -- the successful presentation you gave yesterday, meeting a good friend after work, the hike in the woods you're planning for the weekend. Actively shift yourself from frustration and anger to hopeful anticipation and joy.

Learn to self regulate your emotional responses so you don't get stuck in a negative mindset and communicate that outward.

When you intentionally create a positive emotional wake, you will build rapport, expand your influence, and achieve better results in all areas of your life.

Interested in joining me for an extended conversation about Emotional Intelligence? Attend my next Talent@Work® seminar. We'll do a deep dive into the 5 competencies of Emotional Intelligence, enabling you to use emotional intelligence to improve trust and rapport within your team to foster positive change within your organization. Hope to see you there!