The bulletin of December 02, 2009 discussed how most leaders don’t balk too much when I encourage them to put their thoughts on the table—and how they often struggle when it comes to tabling their feelings.
Remember, there are serious and significant consequences when you don’t “cough up” about how you feel about a burning issue:
- Your physiological health suffers.
- Your mental health is compromised.
- Your relationships with others deteriorates.
Your previous bulletin listed ten real benefits you’ll experience by appropriately disclosing how you feel. (I’m wondering which of the ten struck a cord with you? I must say, for me, each of the ten are equally compelling!)
Remembering that you can’t actually conceal your emotions—they’ll always leak out sometime—you might as well get started on habituating the practice of deliberately getting your feelings off your chest .
And here’s the big plus…
When you deliberately disclose your emotions, instead of having them leak out detrimentally, you’ll significantly enhance your ability to engender trust and build rapport, and therefore favourably influence others.
Excited? Well let’s jump right in and look at how to advantageously disclose what’s going on for you, how to communicate your feelings in a way that works for both you and for the other person.
Six Straightforward Steps for Effectively Describing How You Feel
There are six steps to successfully disclosing how you think and feel—steps that are quite straightforward. And they’ll certainly help you create trouble-free communications and relationships…
- Notice what’s going on emotionally for you. Habitually ask yourself how you feel. Take notice of what your body is telling you.
- When an unsettling, less positive feeling arises, ask yourself what triggered it.Learn to be very aware of what triggers what.
(When providing a leader with emotional intelligence feedback, I notice how many leaders would benefit by developing their “emotional self-awareness” scale.)
- Having made the decision to candidly communicate how you’re feeling, keep your finger pointing inwards, both physically and attitudinally. No blaming the other person. They’re not in charge of how you feel. You are.
- Express your feelings directly. Simply say “I’m feeling…” or “I’m…”You’ll notice that as soon as you disclose how you feel, that feeling will start to dissipate.
Holding your feelings in is like trying to hold a huge, inflatable ball under the water. It takes a lot of focus and it uses a lot of energy, doesn’t it
And as soon as you let some of the air out, as soon as you get some of your feelings off your chest, it becomes a lot easier to manage, right?
- Make a good attempt to understand how the other person is feeling too. I say this warmly, not harshly: You’re not the only person in the relationship who has emotions!
Ask them how they’re feeling—then listen and care about what they tell you.
- If the feeling you expressed was a negative one, discuss what a mutually satisfying solution might look like.The quicker you’re able to move the conversation on and discuss possible solutions, the better. Your conversation suddenly becomes very, very constructive.
Just One More Pointer…
It’s critical that you divulge how you feel as soon as you notice that your emotions have been stirred up…
Tabling your emotional position early, when the feeling is small, is a whole lot easier than divulging when it’s big. It’s like managing an agile, 18-foot skiff-boat verses a huge oil tanker.
Your Leadership Call to Action
Not only are your six steps to effectively disclosing how you feel straightforward, your call to action is too .
I propose you start small, and build up…
Today, find an occassion to use the six steps to disclose how you feel—whether that be:
- Happy, thrilled, excited, or another positive emotion, or
- Concerned, frustrated, worried or another negative emotion.
Then tomorrow, find two occasions to disclose, and the next day three. Then every day thereafter for four—six weeks, find at least three occasions to table how you feel about something or other.
After those four to six weeks you will have developed your new habit. And then you’re able to relax, in the knowing that your habit will serve you.
Whether you’re spending an amount of time away-from-work or at work during the next few weeks, it’s a good time to begin your conscious practice.
Just think, within two months:
- Your communication and interpersonal effectiveness will have blossomed.
- There’ll be more mutual candour in your relationships. (Candour evokes candour.)
- Others will understand you more, and therefore trust you more.
- You’ll notice you’re more influential with others too.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Carolyn Stevens has worked with leaders for more than 25-years—hundreds of them.
She’s supported leader after leader (including those who previously struggled to confront the difficult, let alone persuasively deal with the it) flourish—and become confident, courageous and impressively influential.
Carolyn is authentic and results-oriented. She draws on an eclectic array of approaches, tools and techniques to suit the situation.