START YOUR WEEK WITH THE COACH
“Great leaders know how to deal with their anger.”
A guy’s car stalled at an intersection causing a chorus of honking horns from behind. He got out, walked calmly to the car behind him and said, “Sorry, I can’t get my car started. If you’d like to give it a shot, I’ll sit here and honk your horn.”
Issues that build character and perseverance in great leaders create vacillation and indifference in poor leaders. Slamming doors, showing rage and storming out of difficult situations are all signs of immature leaders, regardless of how gifted and talented. Not only are they immature, they are counter-productive and neutralize any positive leadership influence you may have with your team.
Two things that will help you deal with personal anger as a leader are commitment and creativity. Real leaders don’t quit when things get difficult and challenges overwhelm them. They refuse to get angry at themselves or at those they lead.
An angry leader was talking to his pastor and said, “It must be hard living an exemplary life, handling all those pressures and people waiting for one sign of weakness, so they can pounce on you. How do you handle it?” Smiling, he replied, “I stay home a lot.”
That is probably not an option for you and most leaders. You must find a productive way to deal with your frustrations. Most of the anger management tools on the market today require a lot of will power and mature self-management. They may bring some temporary relief and short-term victories. However, only in God’s strength will you be able to handle the demands of people, pressures and problems that come constantly your way.
The second thing that will help is creativity. Homer wrote, “Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents which in prosperous circumstances would have lain dormant.” Problems will either make you fight back in anger, flee in frustration, or unlock your creativity.
The story’s told of a chicken farmer whose land kept flooding and killing his chickens. In his despair he told his wife, “I’ve had it. I can’t afford to buy another place and I can’t sell this one. What can I do?” Calmly she replied, “Buy ducks!”
Great leaders minimize their anger by focusing that energy on finding creative ways to solve the issues creating the anger. People are demanding and problems never stop coming. Both are difficult and draining. Anger is a normal response. How you channel that anger determines your maturity as a leader and measures your ability to lead effectively.
Leadership, regardless of venue, is an inherently emotional journey. When you’re leading, it is nearly impossible to avoid becoming emotionally invested, not only in outcomes, but in people and processes as well. However, great leaders rise about the passions of the moment and demonstrate maturity.
“Great leadership is keeping your head, while everyone around you is losing theirs.”
General Dwight David Eisenhower