How The Best Leaders Take Charge Of Their Emotions

Emotions play a critical role in leadership, especially in influencing and engaging with others. It’s important to reflect on the ways you experience emotion and how it affects your behavior. When you take charge of your emotions, they can’t take charge of you.

In my work as an leadership executive coach, I guide my clients to master their emotions with six simple steps:

Understand how emotion affects you physically. Learn the physical cues that tend to come ahead of feelings of anger, sadness or frustration. Your stomach may tighten, your hands may get sweaty or your legs may get fidgety. You may feel hot or cold. If you can slow down your reactions and notice these indicators early on, you’ll have a head start on maintaining control.

Identify what you’re feeling. According to some studies, humans experience as many as 27 different emotions. But most of the time what you’re feeling is more routine: happiness, sadness, disgust, fear, surprise, anger, pride, embarrassment, or excitement. Whatever you’re feeling, just taking a moment to name it’s always helpful.

Be inquisitive. In a sense, every emotion is a message. For example, anger often expresses a sense of injustice. Get curious and ask yourself what your feelings are telling you. Knowing the source helps you understand and stay in charge of what’s happening.

Go deeper. Now back up and think about the bigger picture of what’s triggering your emotion. Maybe you’re furious and disappointed because you were counting on someone who let you down. Ask yourself, Was it a fair request? Was I too demanding or authoritative? When you respond to your emotions instead of just reacting to them, you can begin to make positive changes in yourself.

Build confidence. As you get more comfortable with taking charge of your emotions, it will become easier to stay focused on what you’re trying to achieve. Staying the course with your emotions, helps you build confidence of your feelings so not be afraid of the message it’s trying to convey.

Stay consistent. Make the steps of emotional control a daily habit, and practice them with small things as well as big ones. It’s like lifting emotional weights—keep working to build the muscle you need to take charge of your feelings successfully.

Emotions are among our greatest gifts. You don’t want to get rid of them or suppress them, but you do want understand and be in charge of them. The best leaders learn how to master their emotions instead of letting emotions master their leadership.

Lead from within: Take charge of your emotions and become the best leader you can be.

#1 N A T I O N A L  B E S T S E L L E R

The Leadership Gap
What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

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Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR,, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

  1. Brittney C

    04. Jul, 2022

    This was a great blog post. I agree that emotions play a critical role in leadership. I feel we must be in charge of our emotions, instead of allowing our emotions to lead us. Every leader should strive to be emotionally intelligent. I like how you included 6 steps to master emotions. The one I resonated with the most is identify what you’re feeling. I appreciate that you don’t encourage us to suppress our feelings, but identify what we are feeling instead. Your blog post is very practical for leaders.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Brittney C

    22. Jul, 2022

    Hi Lolly,
    This was a great blog post. I feel that it is essential for leaders to be emotionally intelligent. We cannot lead an organization or group of people if we lack control over our emotions. I agree that emotions play a large role in leadership. Because leadership is often times complex, we will experience a variety of emotions. It is not necessary to suppress our emotions, but we must identify our emotions and address them intelligently. Emotions are not bad, but if unchecked they can be detrimental to leadership. Thank you!

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