Ep 84 // Engagement Starts with Self-Regulation & Management

Ep 84

This episode of the Open Door Conversations podcast focuses on the second step in Akua's three-step leadership framework: the importance of engagement. In addition to self-awareness and setting expectations, engagement is a crucial part of becoming a conscious and effective leader in the workplace.

As a business leader, founder, or executive, sometimes your biggest barrier to engaging with your team is staring at you in the mirror. Find out how your own thoughts, emotions, and existing habits could be sabotaging your efforts and some simple ways to self-regulate your way to meaningful engagement, influence, and productivity as a leader.

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What's Covered in this Episode About Self-Regulation

  • Your ability to regulate your emotions, thoughts, and behaviors effectively in different situations is crucial to your ability to effectively engage with others. 
  • Before engaging with others, you must engage with yourself. 
  • Learn some ways to self-regulate, including movement - a powerful way to stabilize emotions and hormones.
  • Listening is an effective way to break the behavior of overthinking or overwhelm. 
  • Akua shares an easy breathing exercise to help calm yourself and relax in order to maintain self-control.

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Quotes from this Episode of Open Door Conversations

  • "Before you can engage with others, you have to engage with yourself. And that's where self management, which is also referred to as self control, or self regulation really comes in." - Akua Nyame-Mensah
  • "Self management or self regulation includes managing stress, delaying gratification, motivating yourself setting and working towards goals." - Akua Nyame-Mensah
  • "Listening allows me to become aware of all the noises around me, I then tried to listen to things further away, things that are closer, and this allows me to come back to the present, and I feel better and in more control." - Akua Nyame-Mensah

Mentioned in Engagement Starts with Self-Regulation & Management

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Learn more about your host, Akua Nyame-Mensah.

Akua is a certified executive and leadership coach, recognized learning and organizational development facilitator, speaker, and former startup executive. 

Since 2018, she has had the opportunity to partner with amazing organizations, from high-growth startups to multinational brands all around the world, to maximize people, performance, and profit.  Outside of her coaching and corporate speaking engagements, she is a regular mentor, coach, and judge for various entrepreneurship-focused organizations.

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Here’s the transcript for episode 84 about Self-Regulation and Management

NOTE: Please excuse any errors in this transcript; it was created using an AI tool. Akua Nyame-Mensah 00:00 engagement is all about people and to be able to engage with others, you need to support yourself first. So what gets in our way of being able to influence deliver value, perform, connect, coach or train your team, and most importantly, engage you do your thoughts, your emotions and your existing habits. That's why once you cultivate your awareness, it's important to engage, but you have to engage with yourself first. And this is why self regulation or self management is so incredibly important. Hello, and welcome to the open door conversations podcast. My name is a Korea yami Mensa I also respond to Aqua and Akua. I'm a certified executive and leadership coach recognised learning and organisational development facilitator, speaker and former startup executive. And I am so excited because this year I'm celebrating five years of working for myself five years of supporting leaders. And I am so grateful because I've had the opportunity to partner with amazing organisations, from high growth startups to multinational brands all around the world. In 2022. Alone, I serve over 600 Yes, over 600 leaders around the world. And in this podcast, you will have the opportunity to learn my three step leadership framework. I actually break it down in Episode 71. I use this framework with my high achieving and entrepreneurial minded clients that are juggling a million responsibilities so they can easily build wealth. This three step framework is going to teach you how to leverage your innate personality to learn how to prioritise and maximise not just your time, but also your money. You don't have to work harder or turn into someone else. To get more done. Let's tune into this week's episode. All right, I'm so excited to dive into the second pillar. But I did want to let you know if this is your first episode you're listening to, I'd recommend you go back to episode number 71. And start at the beginning with cultivating your self awareness. If you're ready to jump in to why self regulation and self management is important, let's start off with some definitions. What is engagement? And why is it important? I believe that engagement is all about people and redefining how you operate so that you can effectively leverage your stakeholders to improve productivity. And you can of course, define that in different ways and drive business results. All right. And engagement is incredibly important for us to really think about. But before you can engage with others, and I probably sound like a broken record at this point, you have to engage with yourself. And that's where self management, which is also referred to as self control, or self regulation really comes in. And that's your ability to regulate your emotions, your thoughts and behaviours effectively in different situations. A lot of the definitions I found online had to do with education students and raising children. And so I just wanted to add this additional part I found on this educational website that I thought was really interesting, because I do think it's still very relevant to leadership in the workplace. So please keep in mind that this specific element actually referred to children or students, but I'm going to replace some of the words with leaders. So self management or self regulation includes managing stress, delaying gratification, motivating yourself setting and working towards goals. All right, and humans and leaders are students and children with strong self management typically arrive prepared, pay attention, right. And if you're a kid, this is more relevant, probably not relevant as a leader necessarily, but they follow directions, allow others to speak without interruption very relevant for leaders work independently with focus. And one of the things I thought that was very interesting, there was no specific report, or study cited, but I'm sure it's something we can find online. But they also added that self control and in their mind self control relates to self regulation and self management. And children as young as five can predict important life outcomes, such as the completion of different educational levels, physical health, income, substance dependence, and even being involved in criminal acts. So really interesting stuff out there about self regulation and self management. And I think this is a core component of engagement. I did want to provide one additional definition and this is from the development of emotional regulation and dysregulation, a critical perspective. So this is a study And they define emotional self regulation, or emotional regulation as the ability to respond to the ongoing demands of an experience with a range of emotions in a manner that is socially tolerable and sufficiently flexible to permit spontaneous reactions, as well as the ability to delay spontaneous reactions as needed, which I thought was so interesting and incredibly relevant. So there's some key things I want to pull from here, being aware of your emotions and your environment, okay, so that you can properly and I say that in quotes, because please keep in mind, I am not suggesting that you mask or code switch to fit in. But it is important that you are aware of your environment, especially if there's a specific goal, or something that you're looking to achieve. Alright, so I do think it is a good way to think about it, it is about the time and place and not every situation is the time and place to engage in a difficult conversation to have a shouting match, it's really sometimes going to depend on the context. And so that was just an additional definition I wanted to share. Because I do think it's important for leaders and people thinking about culture to keep that in mind. So what gets in our way of our ability to manage or regulate ourselves, our brands, we are naturally wired designed, built, how we have evolved has actually made it quite difficult for us to deal with our emotions and to deal with difficult situations. Sometimes, one of the things I think that you should reflect on as we continue this conversation is what is one of the biggest threats that you face. As a leader, we definitely are not dealing with lions or tigers, we no longer live in caves. But our brains reaction to some of these threats within the workplace and within our personal professional lives is the same. So some of the threats that might have come up for you are some of the things that might actually cause pressure and stress for you might be impostor syndrome, or not feeling like you belong, having more distractions and pressure than ever before angry investors or customers unhappy, disengaged, or unmotivated team members, or even having competing priorities. All of these potentially could be triggers, and can impact your ability to self regulate yourself or manage yourself. So these pressure sources, right, whether they be time and expectation that can cause impatience, irritation, frustration, or this feeling and need to be creative, helpful or successful, however you define it can create insecurity and you as a leader, and all of that can lead to the release of adrenaline or cortisol right? Those hormones that impact our breathing and focus that come from our brain, they can lead to the feeling of fight or flight, jumping into survival mode, and ultimately, habits. All right, and what are habits, habits are practices, routines, rituals that are unconscious, automatic, reflexive, and instinctive. And this is why it's so important for us to cultivate our awareness and get really clear on how we show up in different situations. Because it's only through leveraging our awareness where we're going to do a better job of regulating ourselves or managing ourselves in different contexts. We have way more distractions and pressure than we were ever biologically handled, we have way more distractions than pressure, and we are not biologically designed to handle a lot of it. These pressure field moments or these stressors don't always make us great leaders. We may not say the right thing, we may not think straight, and we sometimes even go into survival mode. This pressure can lead us to be reluctant, overwhelmed and firefight even when we know there might be a better way. So what can we do about it, I wanted to share my three favourite ways to deal with my hijack brain, my three favourite ways to really release that feeling of fight or flight, feeling the need to jump into survival mode, or really combat the release of these hormones that impact our breathing, our focus and our ability to really critically think by doing these three things. It typically stops me from jumping to conclusions, jumping down someone's throat, micromanaging or any other unhelpful unconstructive habit, and those three favourite ways are number one, movement number two, listening and number three breathing. Let's break it down a little further. Number one movement that's helpful for me and I think helpful for any leader to really release emotions and process them. This can be as complicated as tapping and if that's something you want to learn a little bit more about. You can reach out or you can Google it. Just regular exercise can help you manage that Add rage dancing, crazy dancing to release frustration, screaming into a pillow, kicking or punching something safe. All these things can help to improve your mood, relax you and help you stabilise your emotions and hormones. A key thing here we are thinking about movement. If you're in a meeting movement might not make the most sense, you might need to excuse yourself, or it might need to be something you do at a later time. The second way to deal with the hijacked brain, or with this release of hormones that get in your way of your ability to effectively engage is to listen. For me listening allows me to become present, and helps me break my overthinking or overwhelm behaviour, I sometimes just take a second to listen to become aware of all the noises around me, I then tried to listen to things further away, things that are closer, and this allows me to come back to the present, and I feel better and in more control. So this is definitely something that you could do within a meeting or within a closed space very easily. The third thought breathing sounds super simple, but it's not something all of us take advantage of breathing allows me to lower my heart rate, and gives me an opportunity to concentrate on something different. It also brings me back to the present. When you breathe deeply, it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax. It also helps you control your body's involuntary functions, and helps you take a second to really reflect on whether or not that habits that unconscious habit, that involuntary habit, that reflexive habit in which you typically show up in allows you to really think about whether or not you want to do that, I like to take three deep breaths, that really helps me and there are lots of once again, different ways that you can approach this. So you can google online to find some additional ideas, or you're welcome to reach out, and I'm happy to share some additional breathing exercise that might work for you. All in all these three different approaches definitely helped me when I was a leader, I wasn't as aware of them or how I could use them. But they're definitely things that I did instinctively to try to show up to be able to better influence, support, and train these approaches definitely helped me be a better coach and facilitator and also speaker on this podcast as well. We are not designed for a lot of the stressors that we deal with today. And as a result, we need to use our awareness to shift in the moment. So it's only through getting better at how you want to shift and understanding how you show up, we're going to be able to do something different. I would also recommend that you use this knowledge as you engage with your team and stakeholders. Others might be struggling with handling some of these habits that show up when they're not able to regulate or self manage themselves. So practice some empathy there. So take a second what are situations where you feel like you could do a better job engaging with managing or regulating your emotions, habits or reactions. Pause this episode here and reflect on what you might try differently tomorrow. As always, thank you so much for taking the time to listen. I hope you found this first episode and the second pillar of engagement helpful and as always, feel free to reach out if you have any feedback or thoughts. Thank you so much for listening to this week's episode, please share this episode with someone who can benefit from its contents. If you found this episode helpful, I want to ask you to leave a review. This makes it easier for other people to find my podcast and also allows me to bring on even bigger guests, and even more fascinating stories. Thank you so much for listening again. Stay safe and stay sane


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