How to Control Your Emotions While Having a Difficult Conversation with Your Manager

Doesn’t the mere thought of having a difficult conversation with your manager give you depression & anxiety? However, there are times when such difficult conversations are necessary to be conducted. 

Whether you like it or not, you have to make these conversations for your own sake. 

One of the common problems that many of us encounter while carrying out a difficult conversation is going through a rush of emotions. It usually happens when we eventually reach a difficult discussion and often get overwhelmed with feelings. In these moments, if a person learns how to harness his/her emotions, they can become a successful negotiator in the corporate world. What actually happens is that a threat triggers our fight-and-flight response where either we feel a sudden urge to walk away from the situation or we feel like it’s best that we should sit down and have a rational discussion. By rationalizing, we can come to a better conclusion and we don’t have to be at the mercy of our emotions. 

Are you interested to learn how some leaders have mastered the art of controlling their emotions? 

Here are some remarkable ways. 

Be Aware of How Your Body Reacts

When a person feels that they are under threat, it’s not just the mind that reacts; it’s also the body. While having a difficult conversation with one of your managers, the most common feeling that you will encounter is an increased heart rate. If your heart is beating fast when you are talking to your manager, it’s a clear sign that you’re about to have a flight-or-fight response. Most people can harness their emotions and control themselves while having the difficult conversation with their managers. Others who are incapable of doing it, relatively sought out a different way such as getting up and walking around to calm their nerves. When you stand up and move out of the zone, it triggers your mental capability to think. When you’re able to think, it becomes easier for you to present a strong rationale for your discussion. In this way, you will not be overwhelmed with burdening emotions & you will quickly respond to managers.

Hold Your Feet Firmly on the Ground

When having a difficult conversation with one of your managers, the most common experience for an individual is that they often fade away from the point of discussion. It usually happens because the mind is overwhelmed with emotions and the person gives his/her control to her inner monologue. It carries them away from the task at hand, and rather compels them to think in an opposite direction. When having a difficult conversation, lack of paying attention to what your manager has to speak is the last thing you want to experience. After all, it’s his narrative on which you’re going to build your entire rebuttal & if you’re failing to pay attention, you’re going to miss out important points and won’t be able to present a solid case. The best way to overrule this emotional surge is to hold your feet firmly on the ground. When you will anchor yourself, your negative emotions will flow through the ground & you will get a better grasp. 

Define the Emotions for Your Mental Well-Being

When you start getting a rush of emotions, the best step which you can take here is define them by labeling them. There are several emotions such as sadness, anger, fear, or a mixed feeling of all of them. If you can label them when they start overwhelming you, it will give your mind enough time to respond to them accordingly. For example, when you are triggered with anxiety, your mind will realize that a deep breathing tactic will help you release the tension. If you are experiencing sadness, your mind will be able to trigger a happy memory for your mental well-being. If it’s anger, then your mind can counsel you so you stay at bay emotionally. One way or the other, by labeling emotions, you will educate your mind about what is the best way to tackle the situation and it will greatly help you in overcoming the rush of emotions. 

Don’t Let Other People’s Emotional Instability Affect You

How many times do we have to encounter individuals who have a volatile personality and as a result, their actions impact our personal well-being. If you’re dealing with a manager who has a volatile personality, it’s best that you avoid getting very interactive with him or her. Maintain a distance and keep your emotional cool when he or she is around. Especially, when you are having a difficult conversation with the manager, there’s a high chance that his or her volatile personality might impact your personal well-being. So before that happens, make sure to lay the proper ground rules and check if their emotional dysfunction can be contained or not. If you’re unable to contain their volatile behavior, it’s best that you leave the conversation for some other time. Try conducting a conversation when there is less anger and less noise in the environment. 

Listen, Understand & Process

If you’re an effective leader, then you will listen to your subordinates to learn something new. The best way to respond to your subordinates is to shift from “I understand” attitude to a more “help me understand” attitude. It will help your subordinate to completely open up with you during a difficult conversation. They will present their point of view on a particular matter in which you guys aren’t coming on the same page. By getting his or her insight, you will be more equipped with processing the emotions. And voila, things will eventually start making sense where you both will come to certain agreements. 

So there you go, here are some ways how managers tend to control their emotions during tough conversations. Are you also looking forward to establishing a similar environment with your colleagues? Now, how about you practice some of the things I have discussed above. It will surely help you get on the same page with them and regulate emotions more effectively. 

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