Self-Regulation: A Critical Strength

Image Source: Dreamscape

Emotional Intelligence is recognized as an important skill-set for leaders to optimize their impact on people and organizations. It’s also important for all of us, both at work and in our personal lives.

We believe the first and most important step to build emotional intelligence is to build and strengthen skills in Self-Regulation, the art of managing our emotional responses to the statements and tones of those with whom you interact. In a recent Inc. article, Justin Bariso refers to The 3 Question Rule for Self-Regulation, which includes the following:

  1. Does this need to be said?
  2. Does it need to be said by me?
  3. Does this need to be said by me now?

The value of this message is this: To have a positive, productive impact on people and their performance, a Leader must possess the core skill of self-regulation.

Has your temper ever flared as someone spoke to you? Has your face ever flashed with embarrassment at a comment made to you? Have you ever been challenged in public or in a group setting? These are examples of situations in which self-regulation is highly important.

Self-regulation enables us to manage our own emotional reactions to others. It helps us to hold our temper. It helps us to avoid saying something we regret. It helps us to be the leader we want to be. And, it helps us to lead by example in building and preserving trusting, respectful work relationships.

Our reactions to an individual (or group) affect our reputations and the way others see us. Everything we say and the way we say it affects the way others feel about themselves, about one another, and about us as leaders. These feelings impact performance as we shape the culture by our words and actions. And, performance matters.

Decades of experience working with individuals and organizations providing training and coaching services have enabled us to fine-tune the kind of fast-thinking process required for self-regulation on the spot.

Following are the steps that can master through practice:

  1. As soon as you feel your emotions rising, Stop. Stop and use that moment to buy time, to prevent your automatic response. Breathe. Listen to understand the facts being communicated to you.
  2. Re-focus yourself on caring about people, including the speaker(s).
  3. Ask questions to clarify and more fully understand their message, not to challenge it.
  4. Re-state their point(s), constructively.
  5. Breathe; choose an effective response, such as one of the following:
    • Tactfully and respectfully, provide the answer(s) they are seeking if appropriate.
    • Offer to take time later for a discussion and commit to following up to set up a time to talk.
    • Communicate that you don’t have the information now, but once you do you’ll share it.
    • Say thank you once this dialog is complete.

Self-Regulation is the critical skill that enables us to manage our behavior, in particular, our interactions and communications. Without this capability we are managed by situations. Relationships require more of us.

We believe people in leadership roles have a unique opportunity and responsibility to make a real, positive difference for employees and their organization. And, we’re convinced that applying self-regulation skills effectively to foster mutual trust and respect is essential to building employee commitment and performance.

Let us know what you think. –Thank you!

Recommended Reading

“Why Emotionally Intelligent Minds Embrace the 3-Question Rule,” by Justin Bariso on Inc. – LINK:

“Emotional Intelligence,” by Daniel Goleman, copyright October, 1995 by Daniel Goleman, published by Bantam Book.

“The Emotionally Intelligent Workplace,” by The Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations, edited by Cary Cherniss and Daniel Goleman, copyright 2001 by Cary CHerniss and Daniel Goleman, published by Jossey-Bass.

“Who Moved My Cheese,” by Spencer Johnson, M.D., copyright 1998 by Spencer Johnson, Published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons.

Copyright May 8, 2021 Rosanna M. Nadeau

Image source: Pinterest

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Telephone: 603-801-2416




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