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Seb Anthony

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Controlling emotions


I need to train supervisors on how to control their emotions while they are dealing with difficult situations. Any feedback, training tips and or activities would be deeply appreciated. Most of the supervisors I train are female, ( I work in a hospital) and many different emotions evolve that I need to help them control. If there is a gender twist to any training techniques, that would be appreciated also.
Linda Baxavaneos

4 Responses

  1. Controlling emotion
    I believe that there is little or no gender related solution to this particular problem. This is a people issue.

    I have worked with social services on a similar problem and the solutions which work have been the same for men and women.

    A brief process for dealing with such encounters is:

    Predict the sort of issues you are going to face which may generate an emotional feeling for your colleague or the service user. Being surprised by an event is one of the hardest parts of this process so sitting everyone down and recounting the sort of issues they have faced helps prepare others who can model the encounter with solutions.

    Get the individual to identify the ideal objective or outcome of the encounter for them. If they do not know where they are heading it will be more difficult to stay in control in every sense.

    Build real rapport with the person showing signs of distress, anger, dissatisfaction. As the staff member knows where they want to take the encounter they can perversely stay focused and really listen and respond to the other party. This usually means the staff member maintains control and avoids the sort of conversation where the aggrieved party ends up stating that they have not listening to them and are a bureaucratic automaton – which in most cases is the impression give if someone is not really listened to.

    There is a lot more to cover in a session handling these issues. I would suggest that whoever delivers this training does understand the underlying issues as well as the good tips, tricks and previous best practice as people in these situations do not want to be left at a point an then not know what to do or why?

    I am a member of MIATAM and many of the members of this association are equipped and experienced in dealing with conflict situations of various kinds.

    Good luck.


  2. Effective Stress Management Techniques
    I am a stress therapist and help individuals and organisations perform better by managing stress positively. Naturally controlling emotions in difficult situations can be a tricky situation and the techniques I teach include :

    – breathing techniques – breathing deeply slows down the physical emotional response and also gives you time to think.

    – tone of voice – maintaining an even tone of voice and professional manner is crucial to a successful outcome.

    – listening – listening carefully and ‘playing back’ their issue to the challenger in a conflict situation, e.g. ‘So what you are actually saying is …is that right?” helps makes the challenger feel you are trying to understand. It also helps you to understand the exact nature of problem. In emotional situations, the actual words that come out initially are not the actual problem.

    – Think before you speak. Careful, calm explanations can help calm the situation. If you match the emotion of the challenger, it raises the emotion rather than controlling it. A calm approach can help calm the other party down.

    – Adopt an ‘us versus the problem’ attitude rather than a ‘me versus you’. It will help calm the situation.

    – Agree on a way forward. Even if you can’t give a complete solution on the spot, explain how you are going to deal with the situation and give times when you will come back.

    – Avoid getting personal – in emotional situations sometimes personal comments come out. Keep the subject to the one in hand. If the other person becomes personal, try to bring the subject back to the one in hand.

    – Take it out of a public arena as soon as possible. Avoid becoming part of the ‘entertainment’ or gossip and invite the person into an office or quieter place, taking a colleague with you if necessary.

    – If the situation becomes out of control, involve a manager to act as mediator.

    These are just a few tips, but if you want more information, please contact me on [email protected].

  3. AT?
    I don’t operate in this area myself, but as I read your posting Autogenic Training came to mind as an interesting and professional approach.

    Might be worth looking into.

  4. release emotions safely early on and take control of difficult s
    The best tips I can give on this would be where possible for supervisors to keep control by organising ‘difficult’ meetings at times when they are likely to be most calm i.e. not directly following a heated/emotional incident. With ‘difficult’ participants mirroring techniques really work to get them on side. If the issue is more about their own responses then they need a safe outlet to release emotions earlier than later, whatever that is, to reduce the risk of inappropriate timing.


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