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How to Keep Your Cool and Lead by Example with Behavioral Insight

December 28, 2018

By: Wendy Sheaffer

Close your eyes and picture this: you’re standing in the middle of a room screaming at the top of your lungs, you throw a stapler and repeatedly slam drawers. Now imagine that room you’re standing in is your office…and your employees are looking at you.

Of course none of these things are acceptable ways to deal with anger, especially not in the workplace. It wouldn’t be OK for ANY employee to act that way. When you’re the boss though, you really don’t have the luxury of losing your cool… at all. Even in the tensest situations, you are expected to keep things running smoothly and provide a professional example for your team. But you’re a human being, and sometimes those frustrations start to bubble up, threatening to erupt.

They say the best offense is a good defense. When it comes to anger, this is as true in business as it is at home. Everyone needs a productive outlet to let those frustrations go. But more importantly, they need a tool to help them take the interpersonal conflicts that come up in every office and turn them into growth opportunities.

Part of staying calm in stressful situations is gaining understanding, not only of yourself, but about the people around you. 

When people picture a behavioral assessment, they often think of something given during the pre-hiring stage to determine fit between the applicant and the job. Or, they think of assessments as a way to uncover the strengths and coaching opportunities for an existing team. All of those things are true,and are incredibly powerful tools to have in your arsenal.

But one of the greatest things that a behavioral assessment (like the Omnia Profile) can do is help you learn about yourself - where your own strengths lie as well as the areas where you might need development - not just as a leader, but as a colleague. Which is why the assessment shouldn’t only be given to your employees; you can use it for your own personal growth as well.

Once you have the results, take the time to speak to an analyst to help you better understand how those seemingly abstract scores translate into real life actions and behaviors.

This perspective is especially useful when paired with the assessments of your team. Not only can it help pinpoint areas where they might struggle with each other, it provides action plans to help you work through it.

For example: Some people value hands-on supervision and input, for others this comes across as micromanaging.  A misstep in either direction can create resentment and mistrust. Knowing Carlie needs structure in her daily routine to feel secure, whereas LaToya feels valued when she can showcase her subject expertise is practical insight. You might have a tendency to focus on the big picture, avoiding the weeds, and thus get frustrated when confronted with the needs of both of those employees.  None of these characteristics are “wrong.” They are all perfectly normal traits that, as their leader, it’s up to you to successfully navigate.

Having the knowledge of where your own quirks and traits might conflict with those of your team members means you have the best defense when things get heated or when frustrations rise. You can get ahead of any problems.

In these situations, knowing the behavioral preferences of those around you is invaluable for giving each individual what they need for success. Knowing your own traits is a fundamental part of a good defense, one that allows you to channel your emotions - even your frustration - into positive examples for others. You've got all the pieces to put together a game plan for when things get tense, which makes it easier to keep your cool.

Now close your eyes and picture this instead: taking a moment for yourself.

Assessing what is being said and who is saying it. What do you know about their behavioral tendencies that might be influencing the response? What do you know about yourself that might be complicating the situation?

Turning a tense situation into something positive will help you and your team grow, which will positively affect the company’s bottom line.

You know them. You know yourself. You've got this.

Wendy Sheaffer

As operations and product manager for behavioral assessment and consulting firm The Omnia Group, she helps companies hire the right person the first time, manage more effectively and build high-performance teams using normal everyday tools and concepts.

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