Kendall L. Stewart, M.D.
Why are leaders hesitant to do this?
“He (or she) made me angry.” Some variation of this statement in which someone else is to blame for the way the leader has chosen to feel or react is probably used as an excuse in every workplace in the world every day. Those leaders who fall into this trap not only do not see their mistaken conclusion, they also give the problem and its solution to someone else. They make this mistake because they have watched other leaders do it and they have imitated those leadership failures so frequently that they never considered the flawed logic involved.
What is the case for doing it anyway?
If your anger is not your problem, you can’t fix it. You have made yourself a pawn instead of player. If someone in your work environment can “make” you angry at their whim, they are leading and you are following. Most angry leaders have never considered this. When they do, it is usually an “ah ha” leadership moment.
How can you do it?
- Take public responsibility for your anger. Tell everyone you know that you have recently acquired a stunning leadership insight from reading the SOMC Leadership Blog.
- Explain why this is true. Most people don’t get this. Even when you explain it, most of your colleagues will continue to blame others for the way they feel. But the point is to convince you, not them.
- Write it down. “My anger is my problem.” Post this simple truth in a conspicuous spot where you and others will see it every day. Insight is not the same as behavioral change, but it is an important first step.
How have you taken personal responsibility for your anger?