On Leadership, Humility and Authentic Spiritual Leadership

 Humility and Honor

Corruption, greed, and addiction to power and control over others ooze from the pseudo-leadership of so many contemporary leaders.

Adding insult to injury is that most of these people actually think they are virtuous. But everyone else around knows differently.

Authentic Spiritual Leadership

And yet, it is clear to anyone who studies authentic spiritual leadership that it is not based on power but on humility. This is a new model, a totally different way of thinking about leadership. This is the leadership of those who are aware of their vocation—they know they have not earned their leadership; it has been given to them.

Unfortunately, so many go through life today convinced that leadership is power.

Such superficial people fail to grasp the ultimate meaning of life or their own true destiny within the context of human development. There is no role in leadership today for arrogant, narcissistic people who emphasize their own self-importance, status, prestige, and power. One great mistake is at the root of all failed leadership—pride, and its constant focusing on self.

Leading With Honor

It is frequently the case that a leader has a place of honor in community, and he or she usually exceeds followers in many areas of organizational life with its interpersonal and task oriented skills. ‘

But such leaders should not exaggerate their own importance but rather insist on the importance of others and their gifts.

Leadership ultimately implies self-surrender, interpreting one’s meaning in life in the broader context of human development. Being able to appreciate the mystery of life and leadership as gifts helps one to be humble, to be one’s authentic self, to honestly know one’s strengths and weaknesses, and to engender genuine respect for others and their gifts.

Humility in Leadership

Humility in leadership is a recognition of one’s humanity and place in community. We are not in this world for our personal enhancement but to live and grow in solidarity with others. We are all struggling and striving to grow, and equally share in a spirituality of failure just as much as in one of mutual enrichment.

Even in our personal journey of spiritual leadership we can give ourselves permission to be less than perfect, as we experience insecurity, failure, and poverty.

Humility gives us the ability to bounce back, try again, experiment with fresh ideas, and stand up to resistance.

Humility helps us have faith, hope, and love in others, and especially in ourselves. Often there is more wisdom and courage in dealing humbly with failure than in expecting success all the time. Moreover, we learn so much in our humility that can help us in dealing with others. This is the paradox of leadership that our failures become successes, our weaknesses become strengths, and our own pain can teach us how to heal others.

Really Appreciating Others

Humility will teach us to appreciate others, to be more accountable, to keep a just perspective on efforts and results. It teaches us never to judge others without first judging ourselves. Humility reminds us not to belittle others, or criticize them, or to fail to give others our undivided attention. It insists we should not be pre-occupied with ourselves, to play favorites with others, to make distinctions based on status, or to embarrass people around us.

Above all humility teaches us to trust others, to practice integrity, to be open to improvement, and to be sincere in everything we do.

From the very start of one’s leadership of others one must be ready to live with an honest vulnerability.  The leader recognizes that leadership is a gift and is always aware of his or her own weak and lonely experience of self. He or she knows there is strength in discipline but also in honest vulnerability.

Not About Power

Leadership is not a way to power over others but a call to nurture the gifts of others. It means letting go of the desire to be always right, or to always have the answers. Successful leaders who admit their mistakes clearly earn more respect from their followers than do those who unsuccessfully try to hide them.

Some mistakes cause pain to others, but a good leader can acknowledge wrongdoing and genuinely apologize.

However, the leader also experiences the pain of failure without becoming insecure, and he or she can bounce back from suffering with an appreciation of how other people feel in times of hardship. Each one must ask if he or she is comfortable or afraid to let others see his or her leadership weaknesses. Of course, if a leader cannot accept his or her own limitations, he or she will probably have more difficulty accepting the limitations of others.

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——————–
Dr. Leonard Doohand

Dr. Leonard Doohan  is an author and workshop presenter
He focuses on issues of spiritual leadership
Email | LinkedIn | Web | Blog

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Are You A Sleep Sick Leader

Sleeping Under Desk

An important aspect that helps lower our stress levels is getting regular, restful sleep. Sadly, many leaders experience periods of inadequate sleep that can last from just a few days, to several weeks or even longer.  

When this happens, leaders ability to deal with stress weakens.

Additionally, the frustration of not being able to either get to sleep, or stay asleep, adds to leaders source of stress and can eventually lead to burnout!

Some Serious Questions

  • Leaders, are you part of the Sleep Sick Society?
  • Do you ignore the fact that you are tired?
  • Do you do too much, and stress yourself to the point of exhaustion?

Millions of people suffer from sleep sickness. According to Dr. William C. Dement’s research; we are a sleep sick society! It’s a very common problem; here are some startling sleep stats.

Some Causes of Interrupted Sleep?

  • Stress eating - Stress unleashes hormones that have an effect on what we eat. When stressed, we have a tendency to grab the high fat, sugary “comfort foods.” Wheat is also a culprit according to Dr. William Davis in the book Wheat Belly
  • Physical tension – Stress can result from many things: a high-pressure job, relationships, financial problems, and personal changes in our life.
  • Surfing the Internet before bed - The bright light of our computer screens may alter our body’s biological clock and suppress the natural hormone production of melatonin that’s critical to the normal Sleep-Wake Cycle
  • Excessive caffeinated products –  Caffeinated beverages; stimulants that block adenosine (energy transfer). According to Psychology Today, your brain does not sense exhaustion and it receives a gradual stream of alertness-inducing adrenaline. You typically experience caffeine’s greatest effects within 30 minutes to an hour, and the extra pep boost may last up to four to six hours
  • Overworked – Taking your work to bed with you will definitely keep you awake at night.
  • Emotional Strain – Anxiety, depression, worrying, anger and resentment, and PTSD are all symptoms of emotional strain that keeps us awake at night.

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Consequences of Interrupted Sleep

“Did you know that sleep is the single most important factor in predicting how long you will live?” ~ William C. Dement

If sleep is cut short:

  • Cognitive abilities are compromised
  • We wake up less prepared
  • Have difficulty making decisions
  • Short-term memory becomes clouded
  • We feel like we are in a mental fog

“Lack of adequate sleep, or sleep deprivation, also reduces leaders workplace productivity, public safety, and personal well-being.”

Good Sleep Hygiene Habits

The most important sleep hygiene measure is to maintain a regular sleep/wake pattern seven days a week. Leaders need to get the proper amount of rest, 7 – 8 hours of sleep per night. Do you know when your mind is in a subconscious mental state of relaxation? Before you go to bed and when you wake up in the morning are times when your mind is relaxed.

“When you are playing mind games, exercising (earlier in the day), taking a hot shower/long bath, or just relaxing, your mind is in a relaxed state. “

Other things you can do to clear your mind before bedtime; keep a pen and pad on your night stand and write down goals you want to achieve. This will take the mental stress of what you want to accomplish off your mind so that you can sleep better. Additionally, try exercising your mind.

Brain Aerobics

What are brain aerobics? Challenging your brain with novel tasks (anything new or different). In order for an activity to be considered brain aerobics, three conditions must be met. The activity needs to:

  • Engage your attention
  • Involve more than one of your senses
  • Break a routine activity in an unexpected, nontrivial way

Feeling Sleepy?

Ever Try Reading Something Upside Down or Backwards?

.noitca gnillifluf-fles, evitisop a si yppah eb ot ediced oT .sevlesruo nihtiw seil ecruos sti dna, erawa-fles eht fo noitidnoc eurt eht si ssenippaH .pael siht ekam ot rewop ruoy nihtiw si tI .tahw seod ohw ro sneppah tahw rettam on, yadot yppah eb ot ediceD

Opposite Hand Tasks - If you are right-handed; try brushing your teeth with your left hand. If you are left handed; try writing a letter to yourself with your right hand.

Riddles – Figure out riddles that require you to think outside the puzzle content itself and use knowledge of language, experience, and other “external mental activities” to solve it.

For example: “What is yours yet others use more than you do?”

Leaders, are you part of the Sleep Sick Society? What is interrupting your sleep? Do you practice good sleep hygiene habits? Have you ever tried brain aerobics? I would love to hear your comments.

>>> Answer to Riddle: your name

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Debra Olejownik
Debra Olejownik is a consultant with DJC Core Consulting & Support Services, LLC
She helps clients identify comprehensive solutions to problems that inspires change
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Leadership Crack Head: Addicted to Your Smartphone?

Addicted to Smartphone

Why Are We So Addicted To Our Phones? 

I see so many people who are seemingly addicted to their smartphones! It truly makes me wonder some things

  • I wonder what the average daily count is of people checking during dinner, while driving, in a meeting, on the phone with someone else?
  • Ever meet someone who is texting while engaging in a conversation with you, and then letting you know that they are listening?
  • Is our work really that important, that we need to stop being present in the moment and get back to people every 2 seconds?
  • What is driving this addiction and how might is be negatively affecting us?

Searching for Reason

I have been trying to understand the reason why people are so “distracted” by their devices. In all honesty, I must admit that I am addicted to the prospective thrill of seeing a new exciting email message arrive.

And then I become disappointed when the new message on my device is only another Living Social coupon…

I also feel the need to get back to people so quickly these days. I feel that if I don’t check every 2 seconds that I may risk not giving “excellent customer service.”

Surely I can’t be connecting to my kids, friends, employees, family AND living in the moment while constantly looking at my phone waiting for the next great thing to show up.

This bothered me very much. So whenever I could, I sought out the reason(s) why people are so seemingly addicted to their phones. And then one day I came across something.

I now think I might finally understand the reason…

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Understanding Power vs. Force

During a meeting with my business coach, she shared David Hawkins – Power vs. Force chart. Mr. Hawkins describes this chart as the hidden determinants of human behavior.

I went digging for something on this chart that could shed some light on why millions of us are in a romantic relationship with our phone. Out of 17 levels, scoring 20-1000, lowest to highest respectively, I found the word DESIRE!!

Click on the chart below for a full explanation.

Power vs Force Chart

Yes, this makes sense; the desire for reward, accomplishment, a new client, to be praised for great service, all of these things that could be present in an email, text or voice mail. Then I realized, according to this chart “Desire” is only 6 out of 17, with a score of 125.

But wait, isn’t it good to desire things, to have goals and wants? Then I kept reading, and understood the dichotomy.

Understanding Desire and Priorities

According to Dr. Hawkins, “Desire is also the level of addiction, wherein it becomes a craving more important than life itself.”  This craving can then lead to frustration when you don’t get the response that you want.

Ahh- hence the disappointment in the Living Social coupon!

The egotistical answer sitting in front of me did strike me hard for a second.

Then I got over myself and looked at the lesson in all of this:

The bottom line is that nothing is more important to me then my family, friends and vision to help others. So when I’m focused on my priorities, I will make a promise to be fully present on those things and not my phone!

The world (and the coupon) can surely wait as I check my phone periodically and not constantly.

Are you addicted to your phone? Are some of your priorities out of line with your top values? What are ways you balance being present with the task at hand, while knowing their might be important messages waiting for you? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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———————–
Val Ries, RN, MBA, CPC
Val Ries RN, MBA, CPC is CEO of the Ries Company
She helps leaders RECHARGE so they have the strength to impact the world
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On Leadership, Stress and Maintaining Vision

Maintaining Vision

The profound and rapid changes in modern life challenge leaders to constantly change and be creative in responding to the complexities of life. Leaders often find that followers’ unwillingness to change or the fact that they have a different value system can be stressful.

If leaders are tempted to set unrealistic goals for themselves or develop a perfectionist tendency stress results.

Leadership challenges are often intensified by constant need to meet deadlines, by lack of financial resources, and by changes that demand new skills from the leader. And this can cause major stress!

From Stress to Distress

When the stresses of life become so great that a leader can no longer cope with them, they lead to distress. When the stresses result from pressures of interaction with people, they can lead to the possible development of burnout.

This phenomenon does not necessarily result from overwork.

In fact, the workaholic is not a candidate for burnout, since he or she uses work as an escape from people. It is when people in certain professions, like spiritual leaders, find themselves immersed in people-problems that burnout begins.

3 Stages of Burnout

Burnout develops in three stages.

First

Leaders become dissatisfied at work, feel a lack of appreciation from others, and begin to isolate themselves.

This stage does not affect the quality of work and leadership, and others often do not even notice it, since the symptoms are no different than other temporary stressful situations.

Second

A time of self-questioning leads to feelings of helplessness and frustration. This can become so great that job performance and leadership begin to suffer.

Third

Terminal burnout is present when leaders begin to mechanically perform their tasks without any real interest or quality involvement. At this stage, leaders feel intense loneliness, can become sour on life, and often manifest an open rebellion that completely disrupts their leadership.

This last stage ends with individuals hating the very situation that they believe causes the stress, their own vocation in leadership.

Symptoms of Burnout

The symptoms of burnout are similar to those of general stress:

  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Chest pains
  • Lack of energy

A leader with burnout loses desire to go to his or her place of work or to associate with followers.

Such a potential burnout victim becomes constantly discouraged, angry, and overly sensitive to other people’s remarks.

At first, the natural tendency is to increase one’s commitment at work to prove to oneself and others that there is really no problem. Once the burnout cycle begins it is very difficult to stop it, so prevention is critical, so that quality leaders do not suffer in this way.

Develop Strategies Against Excessive Stress

Among the practices that a leader can develop to insure a lifestyle that avoids burnout are the following. Leaders should admit the seriousness of stress in leadership, then give adequate time to reflection, friendship, leisure, and broad interests outside of one’s working environment.

A leader should provide himself or herself with suitable educational opportunities to keep one’s mind alert and appreciate the depths and limits of leadership as a call to be, more than to do.

Also, make sure you have a support system that constantly gives you encouragement and feedback.

Improve the quality of your working environment. Redefine success in leadership so as to benefit from job satisfaction. Maintain deep relationships that provide intimacy and love.

Also extremely important is to take care of yourself physically with proper nutrition, regular exercise, and sufficient sleep.

Visioneering: Seeing The Road Ahead

It is important that leaders take care to prevent burnout.

After all, burnout only affects the very best.

Burnout is not associated with workaholics whose work is an escapism from people. Burnout results only in those people who give themselves in service to others and take others’ burdens upon themselves.

It is often found in those who spend their lives in the helping professions. Since spiritual leaders give themselves in service to others they can readily become candidates for burnout. It is a hazard of spiritual leaders and they must be prudent enough to take steps to prevent it.

So, do you or someone you know show signs of burnout? What are the symptoms you are seeing? How can you take steps to yourself or another move beyond their present stressful circumstances and on to a better, healthier path toward the future? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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——————–
Dr. Leonard Doohand

Dr. Leonard Doohan  is an author and workshop presenter
He focuses on issues of spiritual leadership
Email | LinkedIn | Web | Blog

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Changing Corporate Culture To Enable Women’s Success

Woman Competing

If you haven’t been living under a rock, you’ve been hearing the recent debate about barriers to women’s career success.

Debating Two Paths

This debate is personified by Anne-Marie Slaughter in one corner, arguing that organizations force women to choose between life balance and career success, and Sheryl Sandberg in the other corner, countering that women bear a share of the responsibility for this problem.

In Sandberg’s new book, Lean In, she says women need to assume they can have it all, and then get out there (or rather, lean in there) and press for what they need.

If you are a leader who wants to foster the career advancement of women, you must realize this is more than a women’s issue or a work-life balance issue.

Underlying the pressure towards work-life imbalance is a world view shaping common assumptions about what it means to be successful at work.

I call this world view the “mastery orientation.”

Taking Sides

This type of outlook privileges male leaders and leaders who embrace work-personal life imbalance. Also, it has unrecognized costs not just for life balance of the people working there, but also for organizational performance.

Only when you recognize how this world view hinders performance can you summon up the political will needed to change it.

The Mastery Orientation

Below are some of the mastery orientation’s assumptions. See if you recognize them. Perhaps they are so obvious that they’re invisible, like the “water the fish swim in.”

Work success is more valuable than personal life success.

In my research several years ago, many male leaders who  reached high position, when asked why they spend so much time and energy at work, acknowledged that they enjoyed it. They focused on it, even to the detriment of their marriage, children, or health – because work success offers rewards, such as admiration and deference, which make personal life appear mundane by comparison.

Those who work long hours are “rock stars.”

Organizations reinforce the focus on work as productive and virtuous, rewarding those who work excessive hours and defining them as the most committed and capable.

“Winning, “being “right”, “smart”, “logical,” and “in control” leads to success.

The valuing of these traditionally male qualities disadvantages women (though many senior women leaders demonstrate them).  And, this style receives negative results at home.

A “strong” image is leaderly.

Competitive approaches to conflict, power-over approaches to influence, and “thinking alone” instead of “thinking together” are consistent with the image that many leaders feel they have to live up to. They believe that to ask for help, or to say “I don’t know,” is a sign of weakness.

Moving up through the hierarchy is a measure of one’s value.

Managers seek validation by working long hours and seeking higher position – regardless of whether this higher position fits with their talents or interests. Organizations reinforce this idealization of moving “up” by focusing career development on hierarchical progression.

The Alternative Path

Different ways of working are possible – ways which are more consistent with women’s leadership and work-personal life balance, and which also support broader commitment, empowerment, and performance for everyone.

What concrete interventions might you pursue in your organizations, to realize this possibility?

Teach managers collaborative skills.

If managers develop a collaborative mindset in areas such as performance management, decision-making, and influence, this perspective will bleed into their approach to control and delegation, their relative valuing of work vs. personal life rewards, and the macho culture of overwork.

Create structured opportunities for dialogues about role expectations.

People and their managers can use the collaborative skills in these dialogues, to negotiate for balanced commitments and clarify role expectations.

Re-frame career planning, and enable individuals to define their own paths to success.

This approach focuses on individuals’ talents, purpose, strengths and limits, and then defines roles that link individual purpose explicitly to organization goals. Growth is defined in terms of increase in capability, not movement on the “ladder.” This also enables individual ebbs and flows in work focus related to family and care-giving responsibilities.

Assign high potential women to visible work on initiatives of strategic importance.

In contrast to traditional mentoring approaches, strategic initiatives support women’s visibility in a way that’s tied to important outcomes – not to face time or the old boys’ network.

Bring employees together to identify opportunities to streamline work processes.

Collaborative re-design initiatives serve multiple purposes, giving employees a taste of empowerment and a broader context about organizational direction, eliminating unnecessary work, and reducing the stress of conflicting priorities. Women at middle and junior organizational levels, where they’re more equally represented, also gain visibility by actively participating in these processes.

Include emotional intelligence in leadership competency models.

Research supports the idea that dimensions of emotional intelligence such as self-awareness, ability to understand own and others’ emotions, ability to value others’ perspectives and build consensus contribute to leaders’ effectiveness. Also, active involvement in parenting, personal relationships, and participation in the community can promote the development of these capabilities.

Challenge behavioral norms and values consistent with mastery.

When you hear a colleague praising a “rock star” for pulling an all-nighter – stop him and ask him what message he thinks he is sending, and who that message excludes.

Reflect on your own role in supporting the current (or desired) culture.

What is the impact of your actions?  What behaviors are you rewarding, intentionally or not”?

The potential impact for an organization that chooses the alternative path is game-changing – getting the most out of all your female (and male) talent, becoming a magnet for new talent that won’t settle for less than having it all, creating the space for less-stressed employees to work more creatively and innovatively.

You, as a leader, are in a position to make it happen. Why not try?

So what can you do to take a close look at your leadership tendencies and really reflect on what you have been doing? How can you objectively evaluate if you are on the right path or not? Have you been toeing the old-school line? If so, would getting to a more collaborative path help your team? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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Joan Kofodimos
Joan Kofodimos is a partner in Teleos Consulting
She Coaches Leaders to Develop their Strategic Perspective
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Hey Leader: Whose Expectations Are You Trying to Meet?

Expectations

Sometimes, a question can strike you with such clarity that it remains with you for life.

The following question was posed to me early in my management career and is one that has provided deep insight up until this day:

“Whose expectations are you trying to meet?”

The Super Syndrome

After another exhausting week, I attended a community seminar based on the Superwoman Syndrome by Marjorie Hansen Shaevitz. this seminar’s topic referred to women holding themselves to unrealistic expectations to simultaneously be the best career women, mothers, spouses, community members , etc.

Today it could easily be the Superman & Superwoman Syndrome as advertising and media routinely throws images of being the best parent, partner, leader, global conscious servant, etc. Just look at Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

If they can raise their kids, solve world issues, be block buster professionals and stand by each other why can’t we all?

Just forget that they are exhausted and have a few personal challenges.

Getting Really Real

Eventually Something Has to Give

At work everyone wants something from you: your boss, your peers, internal customers, external customers, the Board, the stockholders.

They all act as if “No” is not an option.

But in the real world, if you treat all their expectations as equal, then you will most certainly burn out and never meet many of your stated goals. The old adage “you can’t please everyone” is true.

If you try to meet everyone’s expectations at least one of those attempts will result in lower than anticipated quality and both of you won’t be feeling too great about the outcome.

If you can’t physically and mentally do it all, what is going to move to a lower priority? If you let your stakeholders define this for you, you will continue in the land of the tyranny of the urgent. Whatever is the next thing screaming for attention will get your time.

Gaining Real Focus

Stop the Spinning

If you are already spinning from the long list of things you supposedly “have to do,” then your response to my advice to take time to analyze your work is going to be “but I don’t have time.”

Which is more painful; making time to narrow your focus and be able to say “no” to some requests, or continuing to spin at the pace you are at?

In all likelihood if you continue without taking a more strategic view your pace of spinning will increase because the number of people asking you for support will increase. By always saying “yes” you have reinforced them and others that you will always be there to help regardless of the request.

You have essentially created your own problem.

Getting Real Results

Get Out the Pen and Paper

List all the activities you are doing and the ones you anticipate doing this year.

  • Which of these services, products, activities are essential to the company meeting it’s vision?
    • Which of these am I the sole source for (no one else in the company can provide this)?
  • Which activities, products, services are not related to the vision?
    • What drives me to provide each of these activities, products or services?
    • What could happen if I stopped providing these?
      • What would really happen if I stopped providing these (75%+ confidence that it would occur)?
    • What could I, my key stakeholders and my company gain if I stopped these activities?
      • Which of these gains are of higher value than the activity itself?  (this will serve as your compelling reason to stop offering this service or support)

Gaining Real Perspective

Letting Go

If you are still reluctant to take something off your plate that is not of high value, ask yourself these questions:

  • What personal need(s) does providing this service or activity fulfill?
  • What makes this need so compelling for me?
  • Is there another way to fulfill this need with the more critical activities, products or services?

Here is a great example:

Jack is in a support function. He spends 2 hours each week in one of his key stakeholders staff meetings. He started attending to learn more about the stakeholder’s business and to be present in case some need related to his function was raised. Rarely does this need show up. He already has learned about his stakeholder’s business but he keeps attending for reasons of visibility, status and perceived customer service.

After doing the exercise he realizes that spending the 2 hours each week on the projects directly tied to the vision, will bring him greater visibility. He talks to the senior leader about his rationale for no longer attending and offers to sets up a 15-minute monthly check in meeting to ensure their needs are met.

Three months later, Jack’s increased quality and creativity on the strategic project is gaining him visibility at the executive level and meeting his personal desire for greater status.

Gaining Real Satisfaction

Expectations vs. Vision

Shifting from trying to meet everyone’s expectations to meeting the company’s vision and your personal vision will keep you a valued asset to the business and yourself.

Whenever someone asks you to do something, instead of immediately answering yes, respond that you need time to assess priority.

So how has this process, or something similar, or something different helped you to manage your time and energy? Have you changed to become more realistic in setting appropriate expectations? What can you do in the future to better examine your personal set of expectations and use that model to better understand and help others? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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Carlann Fergusson

Carlann Fergusson is owner at Propel Forward LLC
She provides seminars and consulting on Strategic Leadership Challenges
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Web | Skype: carlann.fergusson

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Leaders: Do Not Allow Anger To Lead Your Life

Walking on Egg Shells

Do you ever find yourself justifying your anger or actually believing that angry outbursts serve a useful purpose? Do you ever believe that anger is what makes you special?

If you have ever thought that being angry is good thing…think again!

Leading Your Life

Anger should not be allowed to lead you through life.

Once while conducting a performance review, I had the opportunity to have a discussion with an employee about the attitude she displayed with other employee in her workplace.

The general observations from others about this person were that she was miserable, unpleasant and downright mean. She was quite aware of her reputation and was completely unrepentant about it. She actually seemed to take comfort in the fact that she was able to make her mark in life by repelling other people.

Just as some people take comfort in their own despair, some wallow in their own repugnance to others.

This lady did not smile, did not frown, did not laugh; did not cry…she seemed in fact to be completely devoid of any and all emotion. Most of her responses to my questions were comprised of one-word answers, shoulder shrugs and grunts.

The more I spoke to her, the more unresponsive she became.

Finally, I felt compelled to tell her that I was concerned about her attitude toward me. At that point, she bragged that most people don’t like her attitude and that she had recently enrolled in an anger-management course because of “other issues.”

I asked if anger was a big part of her life and she responded in the affirmative.

At that point I noticed, for the first time, a small curl of a smile at the corners of her lips. That prompted me to ask her if she enjoyed being angry. She quickly responded, with a full-toothed smile, “Yup, I sure do!”

Through further discussion, I learned that this person had lived a very difficult life which included abusive parents, a history of drug and alcohol abuse, and a nasty divorce. It became clear to me that the events of her childhood had left her with a very negative view of the world and a need to escape it through potentially harmful behaviour.

Her past also led her to uncontrollable bouts of rage and anti-social behaviour. Because she was unable to overcome her personal issues, her life was a mess and her future was extremely bleak. Despite the fact that she was clearly spiraling into oblivion, she refused to accept that she needed to change. I have lost touch with her over the years, but I fear the worst.

This lady’s story is much more extreme than most, but many people suffer from the inability to control their emotions.

Some of those people carry around a well-concealed virtual hand grenade filled with explosive rage. For much of the time the grenade is hidden, but often it is just waiting for the pin to be pulled so that it can explode and splatter hot, angry, emotional shrapnel all over anyone unfortunate enough to be in its path of destruction.

Anger is not only wasted energy…it is a powerful, harmful force that has the capacity to destroy lives and end careers.

Psychological science has identified a condition known as “Borderline Personality Disorder” which is known to bring on the symptoms of uncontrollable rage that I have describe here. Theorists and psychologists agree that this disorder is often a result of disturbing traumatic events from an individual’s childhood.

Sometimes the person is not even aware of, or cannot remember the event or events that may be causing their distress. Instead, they will often inflict their rage on others, all-the-while justifying it as something positive and a personality trait that other people should simply accept or become accustomed to.

What they seem not to understand is that their behaviour is unacceptable in a civilized society and that they are systematically driving people away.

Even people who are not the direct object of their rage will avoid any sort of meaningful relationship with them out of fear and revulsion.

I have known a few angry bosses over the years, but until recently I simply chalked it up to an old-fashioned command and control style of leadership. I now believe that some of the rage I witnessed in those leaders was a result of an undiagnosed psychological or emotional condition.

Those leaders were able to hide their conditions behind their positions because unpleasant, angry bosses like Ebenezer Scrooge and Lou Grant were the stuff of popular culture and entertainment. During that era, we all knew that to be a leader, you had to be tough; and to be tough, you had to express anger.

Modern society now agrees that anger towards others is neither normal nor acceptable regardless of one’s position in life.

Psychologists have found that professional “talk-therapy” or coaching can provide extremely good results and a lessening, or complete elimination of inexplicable, long-term, rage events.

Of course, that will only work if the individual inflicted with the problem is able to admit to himself or herself that his or her behaviour is unacceptable.

They must also be willing to look in the mirror and tell the person looking back that a change is absolutely essential.

Acknowledgement of the problem is often much more difficult to endure than the eventual therapy.

If you have feelings of anger that cause fear or discomfort in others, do something about it. Admit that you have a problem and take steps to deal with it. You owe it to yourself to allow tranquility and contentment to overrule the exasperation, rage and despair in your life.

**********

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——————–
Wayne Kehl

Wayne Kehl is President and CCO at Dynamic Leadership Inc
He is author and behavioral analyst who lectures on leadership and motivation
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Image Sources: roxannejoffe.com

 

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