4 signs an executive colleague has lost self-control — and how to help them bounce back

Self-discipline — or the balance between desire and rationality — is one of the greatest indicators of effective leadership. A loss of this ability can have dire consequences for an executive's performance at work, according to the Harvard Business Review.

Here are the top four signs that someone in a leadership position has lost their self-control:

  1. Increased unethical or deviant behavior: Though this may seem like an obvious sign, it can often be overlooked by colleagues. If people are rude, quick to snap or beginning to break even smaller company rules, these behaviors may suggest that they have lost their self-discipline.
  2. Decreased prosocial behavior: If a colleague has lost self-control, they are less likely to volunteer to help peers with work or report problems they see.
  3. Reduced job performance: People with reduced self-control find it harder to focus on the task at hand and often waste time at work. As a result, their job performance often suffers.
  4. Negative leadership style: Executives with low self-control are more likely to verbally abuse employees and less likely to build relationships with those who work under them.

Though a loss of self-control can hurt an executive's leadership abilities, there are steps one can take to rebound.

  1. A good night's sleep is essential to restoring self-control. A study has found that leaders who are well-rested are less likely to snap at employees.
  2. Re-evaluating company policies that force people to fake their emotions should be considered when possible. Studies have found that those who mask their emotions with clients or customers are less likely to have self-discipline in other aspects of their work.
  3. Having a strong ethical workplace culture is important. Leaders who can see the code of conduct exemplified around them are less likely to indulge in deviant behavior.


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