When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion. – Dale Carnegie
Have you worked for a boss who was frequently in the midst of a panic attack? Though they had a prestigious degree and were technically brilliant, they were dramatic about the smallest of things and made the workplace extremely stressful? Yes, they lacked executive maturity.
Executive Maturity, also called Poise under Pressure is both internal and external:
Internal: ability to master your emotions and your emotional triggers which lead to mood changes and impulsive behavior. Simply put, it’s the skill that makes you think before you act or speak.
External: raising your awareness to a level where you are sensitive to the feelings and signals emitted by those around you.
While it sounds a lot like parents counselling us in our teenage years to “grow up and take responsibility for your words & actions”, this skill helps us take control of our reactions and emotions. This critical leadership skill builds adequate self-awareness where no one can ‘make you angry’ as you know that being angry is a choice.
While interviewing for my latest book, several people asked me a counter question “Where is the place for passion if we display so much control?” It helps to understand that leadership styles have changed and evolved in the past few decades. In the 80s and 90s, bosses could be explosive, display bad temper and use harsh words to mobilize their teams to perform.
Today, bosses are expected to listen before reaching a conclusion, analyse the situation calmly and display sensitivity, all traits linked with Executive Maturity. Being emotionally stable helps leaders stay calm, helping their subordinates cope better during tough moments or a real crisis.