Leadership 101 – Managing EmotionsSue Afutu
Leadership is perhaps one of the toughest jobs a person may have to do. This is because leaders are required to keep their heads when all around them people are losing theirs. We all lead in various ways – parents lead their children or their households at home, older siblings lead younger ones, managers lead subordinates and we even lead ourselves in the achievement of our personal goals. Managing emotions is a big part of leadership – choosing what should be done over what you would rather do. The most important emotion leaders must master perhaps, is their anger.
Anger perhaps is the most destructive emotion that leaders have to deal with.
Recently it was reported in the news in Ghana, that a woman came home and found her husband having an affair with another woman. Overcome with anger, she set her husband and his lover ablaze. In the process, the house was razed down by the fire and this fire, unfortunately, spread to neighboring houses in the community which subsequently got destroyed.
Better a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city (Proverbs 16:32). What is the best way to manage your anger as a leader, especially when it has to do with correcting a mistake committed by a subordinate? Do you correct immediately when you realise the error which has been committed or you give yourself some time as a leader for your anger to simmer? I have learnt from experience, and I believe many leaders have, that depending on how angry you are feeling it is best to allow for a few cooling down minutes before attempting correction.
Besides waiting for a few minutes for your anger to simmer, you must also know beforehand what the purpose of the correction is. It should be to make the person feel wrong about the action than about themselves. A person being corrected may get defensive but as a leader, you do not need to get into an unnecessary exchange or barrage of words with your subordinate.
Ken Blanchard, offers some valuable insights in his book The One Minute Manager. He has the following to say under what he calls the one minute reprimand.
- Firstly you must tell people beforehand that you are going to let them know how they are doing and in no uncertain terms.
- Secondly in telling people what they did wrong you have to be specific.
- Thirdly, tell people how you feel about what they did wrong and in no uncertain terms.
- Fourthly stop for a few minutes of uncomfortable silence to let them feel how you felt.
- Fifthly shake hands or touch them in a way that lets them know you are honestly on their side.
- Sixthly, remind them how much you value them
- Seventhly reaffirm that you think well of them but not of their performance in this situation
- Eighthly realize that when the reprimand is over, it’s over.
I wish you the very best in your leadership journey.
Cheers and blessings to you.