We all have those days when we feel pretty ordinary.

Not feeling well perhaps or just had an argument at home.

A client has let us down or a colleague has upset us in some way.

Maybe a continuing low level and unexpressed irritation  with a work colleague. Maybe we are just feeling grumpy.

As a member of a team it’s good to not take it out on our colleagues.

As a leader its even more important  to try and not show it at all.


Here’s six things that we can do:


  1. Be aware when you are off your game. 


This  self awareness is easy when you are really ill or upset or something significant has occurred. It is harder when it is a slow burning,  low level, subtle decrease in leadership ability.

Train yourself to notice your unique early warning signs.  Maybe it is avoiding someone or something. Micromanaging. Giving negative feedback and no positive feedback.

When you spot your early warning signs conduct an emotional audit. How is it affecting your mood? What do you look like? What is your behaviour? The awareness triggers understanding and opens  new options.

Another strategy is to encourage a trusted colleague to give you feedback when they think you are beginning to show imperfect leadership behaviours.


  1. Identify and solve the problem. 

Take an hour off. Speak to the colleague who has been a continual minor irritation. Take a Panadol.

Phone your partner and apologise.

Visit your doctor.

Practice that mindfulness technique.

Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Write it down and let it go.


3. Delay or postpone any significant leadership actions. 


We don’t make the best decisions at these times. nor do we have the necessary oomph to motivate and comprehensibly manage our non-verbal communication.

So if you can,  hold off on that critical interview,  delay that change management program,  or reschedule that important client presentation.


4. Fake it. 

Look and sound like a leader even if you don’t feel like it. This means being aware of how you look and sound especially when you don’t feel like looking and sounding terrific. Practice and practice still more. Use the Amy Cuddy  super pose. Go for a walk. Get the energy moving.


5. Schedule an hour with your leadership coach or trusted friend. 

Making the appointment means you intend to take this seriously and fix it. Approaching the appointment you will be internally assessing and preparing the data about what is affecting your leadership. During the session you will discover new energy and new options.

6. Apologise

If  all else fails or the options above are not possible  and you notice you are behaving in a non-leadership manner, then apologise straight away.

“I’m sorry I got irritated – it is  me not you”

” That didn’t come out right. I meant to say it this way”

“I think I’m being a little bit grumpy so apologies”

” There’s me being impatient again.  I’ll try and  watch that”

“I’m feeling a bit flat today and would appreciate your support on this. ”


If you would like some help when you’re off your game please feel free to contact me.