Self-regulation is your ability to keep your impulses and disruptive emotions in check, and also to think before doing something. It is also one of the 5 elements of emotional intelligence (recognizing your emotions, managing your emotions, understanding other people's emotions, motivating yourself, and managing relationships).

Emotional intelligence is a very important skill that every leader has to possess in order to be effective. Emotional intelligence allows you to be aware of your own emotions, and also of the feelings and needs of other people.

Why is Self-Regulation important?

Once you learn how to manage your impulses and your emotions, you can function at your best. That's because you can act in accordance with your 'social conscience', instead of just doing what you want to do.

Self-regulation also makes you not behave in ways that may cost you and your organization in the long run. It suppresses your impulses and delay gratification so that you have more time to think about the possible consequences of your actions.

When you are self-regulated, you also have the ability to get back from negative feedback quickly. Because of this, you are not likely to wallow in self-pity and being unproductive at work. If your team members see that you are able to stay calm under pressure, and you can accept feedback without resentment, they are more likely to respect you as their leader, and also trust you. It also makes you look very approachable.

Strategies to Develop Your Self-Regulation Skills

1. Lead with Integrity

Managers who are self-regulated are good role models because they lead with integrity. They practice what they preach, and they make sure there is a trusting environment in the workplace. They don't always opt for the easiest option because they want to do things for the right reasons.

2. Be Open to Change

People who are self-regulated do not have a hard time coping with change, and can easily adapt their behavior to various situations. More importantly, they consider change as a positive development, and an opportunity to learn and develop themselves.

3. Identify Your Triggers

You need to be self-aware before you can be self-regulated. This means that you should know your weaknesses, as well as how others' behavior can affect you. You may identify your triggers by listing the times when you gave in to your negative impulses at work. Once you have identified the emotions and reactions that are not useful, find a way to replace them with positive behaviors.

4. Practice Self-Discipline

You may eventually become self-regulated if you continuously work on self-discipline and persistence. These traits are what keeps you working hard even during those times when you are not in the mood, or when your goals seem very hard to reach.

5. Reframe Negative Thoughts

To regulate yourself effectively, you need to be good at managing your negative thoughts, and control how you will react to the same situations in the future. You may fix the damage caused by negative thinking by rationally assessing facts. As any business coach will advise you, staying objective in assessing and solving problems is always a better approach.

Author's Bio: 

Cecile Peterkin is a certified career and retirement coach, and a registered member of the Career Professionals of Canada and the International Coach Federation. She is also the Founder and Senior Career Strategist at Cosmic Coaching Centre, provider of career and life management services for middle managers and mid-career professionals across Canada, United States and Europe.