If you have a high IQ, you’ll most likely be a successful leader. Who can argue with that statement? But according to Daniel Goleman, internationally known psychologist and New York Times best selling author, success takes more than what can be measured in numbers. Goleman would add the ability to understand and manage your and others emotions – qualities associated with emotional intelligence (EQ) – distinguish the best performers in the corporate world.

According to Goleman, there are five key elements of Emotional Intelligence: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills. This article focuses on self-regulation – the ability to choose how we think, how we feel and the actions we take.

Simply put, self-regulation is about staying in control. Leaders who self-regulate are able to manage their emotions and responses to situations and other people. Most important, they can maintain this approach during emotionally challenging circumstances.

So, how can you improve your ability to self-regulate? Start by practicing the following tactics:

Know Your Values – Do you know what values are most important to you? Which will you absolutely not compromise? If you know what’s important to you, you’ll probably make the right choice when faced with a moral or ethical decision.

Manage Your Emotions  – The next time you’re in a challenging situation, be aware of how you react. Identify emotions and reactions that are not useful and replace them with ones that are more positive. Most important, think before you act. For example, if you relieve stress by venting your anger, find ways you can react differently. Perhaps, count to ten, take a walk or practice deep-breathing exercises to calm yourself down.

Hold Yourself Accountable – Stop blaming others when something goes wrong. Admit to your mistakes and face the consequences. You’ll not only sleep better at night, you’ll earn the respect of those around you.

Become More Empathetic – Empathy is a critical emotional intelligence competency for influencing and coaching others. But, it can also help increase your ability to self-regulate your emotions. Listening to verbal messages and observing non-verbal cues from other people’s perspectives is often an effective way to create a more deliberate and effective reaction.

Leaders who can regulate their emotions will have greater integrity, improve their EQ capacity and become more influential leaders. Contact Verve Consulting Group to design and deliver leadership programs to help develop more self-regulated, effective leaders in your workplace.


Daniel Goleman. 1995. Emotional Intelligence. Bantam Books.

Verve Consulting Group: Your leadership and organization effectiveness partner.

Executive Coaching | Leadership & People Development | Team Development | Organization Design

Info@VerveConsultingGroup.com (866) 399-4430