Thermostat or Thermometer?


Recently, I found myself extremely frustrated at work. Not the normal, ” business as usual” frustration, but the kind that quickly led to a negative state of mind. You could see it in my face, my tone of voice, even in my stride. This sense of frustration was multiplied by the fact that it was not one or two big things gnawing at me, rather, a series of little annoyances. To make matters worse, many of them were things out of my control ( i.e. Inflation, the economy, weather).

However, as I walked around my office I noticed that as the leader, everyone took their cue from me! It was as if, the atmosphere of the office rested on the disposition of the leader, namely, me! If I looked and acted defeated, my associates would pick up on that and begin to panic. If I made negative comments about the business results or the latest industry article, they would become negative as well. This reminded me that as a leader I need to always be aware of not only my IQ (Intelligence Quotient), but my EQ (Emotional Quotient) as well.

Simply put, I had to accept the fact that other’s are impacted by my behavior. And I could choose to be a thermostat, that “sets” the temperature regardless of the outside climate, or a thermometer, that only “reacts”to the changing climate. If you set your home or office thermostat on 70 degrees, it will keep the atmosphere at a constant 70 degrees regardless of the outside climate. Conversely, if we act like thermometers, we will be as hot or cold as our surroundings, and equally unpredictable!

Today, take ownership of your thoughts, moods and behaviors. You want to be perceived as a thermostat……not a thermometer!