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Leaders: "getting It Off Your Chest" In Six Vital Steps

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Most leaders I coach don't balk too much when I encourage them to put their

thoughts on the table-and they often struggle when it comes to tabling their feelings.

Yet there are serious and significant consequences when you don't "cough up" about how you feel about a burning issue:

o Your physiological health suffers.

o Your mental health is compromised.

o Your relationships with others deteriorate.

Another worry is, you can't actually conceal your emotions-they'll always leak out sometime. Therefore 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 favorably 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 To Effectively Disclosing 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...

1. Notice what's going on emotionally for you. Habitually ask yourself how you feel. Take notice of what your body is telling you.

2. 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.)

3. 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.

4. 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?

5. 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.

6. 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 occasion to use the six steps to disclose how you feel-whether that be:

o Happy, thrilled, excited, or another positive emotion, or

o 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.

Just think, in four to six weeks:

o Your communication and interpersonal effectiveness will have blossomed.

o There'll be more mutual candour in your relationships. (Candour evokes candour.)

o Others will understand you more, and therefore trust you more.

o You'll notice you're more influential with others too.

by: Carolyn StevensAbout the Author:Carolyn Stevens, Managing Director of Leading Performance Pty Ltd, works with executives, leaders and teams who want to do a remarkably good job.Click here to request her useful, bite-sized, twice-monthly leadership solutions.


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