Life is emotional. Very emotional.
One of the worst mistakes you can make as a leader is to make tomorrow’s decisions based on today’s emotions.
- You send the drippingly sarcastic or angry email…and regret it the next morning.
- You are so hurt by the betrayal of a friend that you decide to close yourself off emotionally to any future friendships.
- Your anger over a bad day at the office means you lose your temper at the kids and cancel the day at the park planned for tomorrow.
- You cancel the new worship service because of opposition and decide not to do anything new for the next six months out of spite.
You see the pattern, and you’ve maybe participated in it.
The fine line is that leaders who avoid making this mistake don’t avoid it because they don’t feel the emotions. They feel them full on. They just avoid acting on them. They refuse to make tomorrow’s decisions based on today’s emotions.
Some personal notes:
- Years ago I decided to never send an email when I was angry or upset. Sometimes that means I don’t respond for a few days. More recently, I decided to answer angry correspondence (for the most part) with a phone call. It’s amazing how it can diffuse a situation.
- I’ve been hurt by friends, and the hurt lasts a while. But I’ve consciously decided to let friends back into my life. It was a decision, not an emotion.
- I try to ensure work issues stay at work, and home issues stay at home.
- The ‘I’m just going to pick up my toys and play in my toy box and you can’t come’ emotion is real, but deadly. Fight it.
I’ve learned another thing…when you resist negative emotions, positive emotions follow. Reason sets in. There are times where my anger against person X from yesterday becomes compassion for them today. Prayer, consulting with other wise colleagues, and inviting Christ into the situation changes so much.
Every time you make a tomorrow’s decisions based on today’s emotions, you and everyone else loses too. I have a theory that many of the bad decisions made in leadership get made because they were emotional decisions, not wise decisions.
Make decisions based on reason, input, guidance and emotions you experience that have stood the test of time.
How does this principle impact you? Have you ever made tomorrow’s decisions based on today’s emotions? What happened? As you’ve learned and grown, how have you learned to resist it?