A colander is used for a communication prompt

Manage Your Steam! – Tips on keeping your cool at work

Throughout my HR career, coworkers recognized me for being even-tempered and positive in managing my staff relationships.  If I encountered a challenging situation?  I talked it out.  Was a staff member underperforming?  I would meet with them privately and layout expectations and goals.  It did not matter what I was facing.  From company reorganizations to management changes or mergers, I never showed my frustration and stress.  I always kept it together.

Then one day, a long time ago, IT happened.  I lost my cool.  I didn’t lose it in a private slam a drawer in my office moment.  Nope, I lost my temper with two staff members within earshot of my entire department.

Right now, I hear my inner Queens’ voice is telling me, “You should explain what ‘lit you up’ means and how you uncovered integrity issues and behavior problems.  And, hey, it only happened once!  But how is this going to make you look to others?”

Well, presenting a curated, positive image of myself is probably noteworthy career guidance, given that I coach and give humorous talks about developing productive communication skills.  However, having others know that my coaching guidance comes from real-life experiences does contribute to the client’s “buy-in” and keeps our conversations authentic.

What’s important to know at this point is that I converted that unfortunate experience into actionable lessons immediately and have been playing it forward since.  So, let’s delve into the reasons why we lose when we lose it.”   

When we lose our temper, we fall into our emotional brain, and our thinking brain shuts down. When our thinking brain shuts down, we say and do incredibly dumb things.  We trigger the primitive part of the brain aka the Amygdala. This stimulation triggers a fight or flight response in ourselves, the recipient of our anger, and anyone who might be within earshot.  Rational thinking and responses go out the window.

Sharing a story based on a personal experience can help us appreciate others and view them with a fresh eye. We can then use these insights to improve our communications and relationships at work and in our community.  So seek out opportunities for learning and engaging with others.

 Julienne B. Ryan is the author of The Learned-It-In-Queens Communications Playbook – Winning Against Digital Distraction” and an applied, narrative storyteller, speaker, trainer, and coach. She is on a mission to improve how we communicate with each other, one authentic conversation at a time.  Click on this link to learn more about her services.