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Emotional Reaction

In baseball, there is what is known as, “the closer”. That’s a pitcher whose job is to come in at the very end of a game and close down the opposing team from scoring any runs, in order to preserve victory. (That is called a “save”.) These guys must have nerves of steel and they must be unemotional when performing. The best closers are also typically unemotional after a game, win or lose.

When the closer blows a save and the game is lost because of him, he must have the emotional make-up to forget that game immediately, because he could be called upon the very next day to perform in the exact same type of situation. He must go out there with all the confidence in the world that he will shut them down on that day. The day before was an anomaly and a thing of the past. In business, the manager must have similar control over his/her emotions. You can’t not only let your employees see you react, you can’t freak out at all. You need to rise above this negative behavior.

And how do you rise above being reactive, especially if you are prone to succumbing to your emotions? First you must become aware of the difference between circumstances and your reaction to those circumstances. Most of our negative reactions occur after something has already taken place. That is “the circumstance”.

How we react to an event that has just taken place, determines our own wellbeing and the wellbeing of the other person, if someone else is involved. For example: should we become angry, then our blood pressure increases and our veins constrict. If we exhibit reactionary anger toward another, especially an employee, then we have succeeded in creating an instantaneous negative environment and therefore a de-motivator.

Other negative reactions to a circumstance include, but are not limited to: withdrawal, self-pity and non-communication. All of these emotional reactions are like slitting our own wrists and creating an array of de-motivators for an employee. If you would like to stop emotional reactions you must first become aware of the reaction and observe your own behavior. In addition to the observation, if you take a few deep breaths, this alone will help move you toward a calmer state of mind.

There are volumes written on how to control these emotions, which includes not “stuffing them”. One method to quickly chill out is utilizing the “Quick Coherence” method of “HeartMath” which is not only being used in business, but also in all four branches of the military. HeartMath was founded by a stress researcher by the name of Doc Childre. The Institute of HeartMath conducts research on heart intelligence and its effects, in the fields of neuroscience, cardiology, psychology, physiology, biochemistry, bioelectricity and physics. (For information on HeartMath go to Every time we respond positively, instead of reacting negatively we create new neural pathways in the brain and are able to move forward more calmly and decisively. Those pathways are like “grooves in the mind”. We let the old emotional negative reaction grooves atrophy and create new grooves whereby you react positively to the circumstance before you. Your reaction to the situation is what will not only determine your effectiveness as a manager, but will also determine your own happiness.

When selecting a pitcher to be a closer in baseball, the mindset of the pitcher is essential to his success. They don’t pick a guy with a hot temper to be a closer because he will have too much difficulty getting a grip on his emotions. They know he will fail. Similarly in business, the leader must be cool and calm under pressure especially when someone screws up.

If you are interested in working on how to train your mind not to react emotionally to negative circumstances then contact me at

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