Consider how often you interact with another person around the following: unclear roles and responsibilities; a change, small or large, that is being made not by the choice of the person involved; a disagreement; the choice of limited resources; stress induced by substantial workloads and a shortage of time. The list could easily be extended across several pages. Much of what happens in an organization triggers some kind of emotional reaction in us. And in our leadership roles, we get to help others manage their emotional reactions.
The signs are often clear to us: anger, denial, blame, resistance, lack of engagement. Defenses go up. Fingers point. Creativity, grace, humor, balance, even cognitive engagement: all gone from the moment.
In order to help another manage this reactivity, we must be able to manage our own emotions and thoughts. Training ourselves to be alert to these arisings in our own mind and body is a first step. Keeping in attention and not falling into reactivity even as they arise enables us to turn that attention to the reactivity of others. And in order to have an impact on another, we must be and stay connected with them in a personal and emotional way. Our energy has to connect with and help manage theirs: this can be a touch, a word or phrase, silence, a commiseration, an agreement.
Then the leadership work begins.