Impulse control is the ability to think before acting. Low impulse control is characterized by:

  • The tendency to jump to hasty conclusions
  • An “act now, think later” approach to solving problems and making decisions
  • Being overly talkative or controlling in meetings and conversations
  • Regular moments of regret, perhaps wishing you would have analyzed a situation more before responding.

Leaders that display these behaviors may respond in unpredictable ways to their emotions. As a result, those they work with and lead may distance themselves, particularly when the leader is experiencing stress. Your best weapon against impulsive behavior is a “forced pause” before committing to an action. Try taking five deep breaths the next time you feel yourself being impulsive or interrupting someone. During this short 30 seconds, ask yourself what alternative action you can take.