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One of the most overlooked skills that leaders need to work on developing is emotional control.

Here at Shamrock, we actively support the concept of Crucial Conversations (Kerry Patterson).  A Crucial Conversation is one where there are opposing opinions and the stakes are high for one person in the conversation.

Sound like any conversation you’ve had lately?

Maybe not.

An effective leader takes the opportunity to have those conversations, while an ineffective manager avoids them. Shamrock estimated that a good 80% of the time the ineffective manager avoids the crucial conversation all together.


Because they want to avoid the conflict and emotions that are often associated with the tough conversation.

But why must a conversation become tough, or worse yet, emotionally fueled?

Stop and thinkOne of the concepts I was taught in my early career, and have practiced since, is Stop and Think. You may notice that I said that I was taught it, as it does not come naturally to us humans, and please also note that it must be practiced as it is not our nature, we will revert back to reacting before thinking if we are not actively practicing.

I recently had a discussion with one of my mentors regarding firefighters. How do they stay “steely cool” when the heat hits? he wanted to know.

“Training” I quickly replied. “It is not a natural skill, but one that must be learned and practiced.”

It includes training the brain to stop and think, and from a neurological and medical perspective, to conserve oxygen and control the heart rate to be an effective thinker.

This involves a much broader concept of a positive mindset.


If we enter a conversation looking for trouble, we will frequently find it.


If we enter a conversation, realizing that there is not a personal component, and even if the other party becomes personally motivated and agitated, it rarely, if at all ever, has nothing to do with us.

The primary factor driving most emotional outbursts is a previous experience that the other person’s brain is bringing to the discussion. Thus, we cannot control the other person’s outburst, but merely respond, or choose not to respond to the outburst.

If we have a previously agreed upon mutual goal (frequently we find this is NOT the case), then we as the leader need to bring the conversation back to that goal, and stay calmly focused on our desired outcome.


Of course, this involves having learned and practiced an effective leadership mindset.

Have you done that yet?


Train your team.

If you want your team to have the tools to embrace the conversations that need to keep your business running efficiently, without getting sidelined by emotions and conflict, we are ready to help.  Call 312-939-5541 to set up a FREE consultation call with John Casey, head of Shamrock Consultants.


Shamrock Consultants creates leaders who deliver results.

Shamrock leverages 26 years of leadership development experience to assist organizations in the transformation to effective leadership using unique, powerful, and PROVEN methods – methods created from data collected from 40,000 managers at 2,000 different businesses.
I’m John Casey and I bring 26 years of assessing and coaching leaders, to your organizations’ leadership benchmarking and transformation process to help your managers become highly effective LEADERS.

My heart, my research, and my experience are all in my work, and it shows clearly in my client interactions and their organizations’ leadership results.