Over the years, I have learned that as a trainer, one of my greatest skills is ‘state management’ – the ability to choose my emotional state based on what is needed by the group. This may not be the state I would be in ‘naturally’ in that moment.

Can I give you a personal example to make this real? 13 years ago, 2pm in the afternoon my husband and I were told that after years of waiting, we would adopt an 18-month-old girl in 2 weeks. Incredible news, and so much to get done in those two weeks. I was to host a function at 5 pm that evening, and was so excited I couldn’t think… My nervous energy would not serve the group I was working with, so I chose to put those thoughts aside and shift my state to an attitude of calm and focus on the client. After the event there was time for high fives (and serious rapid planning).

State Management is also an important skill for leaders to develop, especially during challenging times like those we currently face. You may be tired, stressed, angry, or any number of strong emotions…..  And rightly so….

And yet the one important question to ask yourself in the moment is “what does this group need from me?”

The fallout of COVID may be causing you stress… You might be worried about a family member… Or have just had a difficult client meeting… A planned holiday cancelled….Or a run in with your CEO…

These things may explain how you feel. They do not justify the poor behaviour that sometimes results when we are under pressure.

As a leader, you are a role model always on duty.

State Management is an advanced skill of Emotional Intelligence**.  It is very hard to manage your state when you are tired and run down. Self-care is a critical leadership responsibility.

What do you need to put in place to ensure you are aware of and can regulate your own emotions and behaviours, especially during times of stress? Better sleep hygiene? Breaks? Exercise? Clear boundaries between ‘work’ and ‘home’, especially if you are ‘working from anywhere’? Reading?

What do the people you lead need from you right now? What do you need to put in place for yourself, so you can provide what they need?

Go Fearlessly


** Emotional Intelligence is the capacity to have awareness of, manage and appropriately express our own emotions, and to use emotional information to navigate and influence interpersonal relationships.


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