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Release the self-criticism to develop into a stable leader

During our roundtable talks on emotional intelligence, we talked, among other things, about how easy we are to criticize ourselves if something does not go as we intended. But did you know that every time you are self-critical, you activate the threat system in your brain.

Britta BylanderBritta Bylander

Author: Britta Bylander


Your amygdala (constantly looking for threats to protect you) is activated, stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline flow - your brain is preparing your body for what in English is called Fight-flight-freeze. The three strategies we use when we're threatened. But it may not be the best way to handle situations in our working lives; if you should receive criticism during a meeting or if you are not invited to a meeting that you think you should attend.

How often do you think self-critical thoughts?

Some days we may have many self-critical thoughts, imagine how the stress on your body is such a day. Add to that something else that triggers you, an email that annoys you, a comment on a meeting that lands wrong, or a reaction from your boss that makes you unsure. The list is long on things that cause us to trigger - with or without stress in the body.

Managing our thoughts, feelings and behaviors is not always easy in stressful situations. Even less when we already have an unconscious stress turn (often our self-critical thoughts roll by themselves in an automated process in the brain - in our autopilot). At the same time, it is important to be able to handle ourselves even in tougher emotional situations, especially if we are to lead others. It's about self-leadership - being able to lead oneself to be able to lead others.

Soft abilities - Emotional Intelligence

Most leadership skills are soft skills - emotional intelligence. The most important of them all I want to claim is self-awareness - getting to know our thoughts, feelings, behavioral patterns, etc. Being able to see our strengths and weaknesses, understanding what motivates us and what triggers us. Self-awareness means that you handle yourself better in all situations without being overly critical, which also affects your relationship with others and consequently how you lead others.

♥ In the latest version of our book, The Professional Life of the Future 4.0, we provide 10 perspectives that companies and organizations should consider to be relevant in the future.

♥ Read more about Britta Bylander under Tools & Insights Inner self-leadership with  emotionel balance.