Like many people from all over the world, I followed the events that unfolded in the just concluded presidential election in Nigeria with extreme attentiveness. The chairman of the electoral body saddled with the responsibility of conducting and publicizing the results of the polls to the public won admiration of many by displaying maturity in the face of intimidation when a party agent attempted to blackmail him. At the end of the day, sanity was restored and all ended as expected.
As I watched the display of infamy and ingenuousness by one man, and display of equanimity and rectitude by the other, I started imagining the driving force behind both emotions. It was obvious they both had a choice to choose how best to react.
My first Leadership 101 Lecture
The drama that took place in the Nigerian capital brings to mind an incidence that led to my first leadership 101 lecture on ‘how to control your attitude and emotion’ humbly delivered by a matured friend. It was back in my days as a polytechnic student and as one of the fellowship leaders of a subgroup in northern Nigeria. To be precise, I was then, the school’s Christian fellowship Drama group stage director and script writer. We were working on producing a Christian home video I had written and will be directing. It was a huge task to us then so I called for a strategy meeting after fellowship one day. Many of the members stayed behind but some went about other things in the room and kept us waiting. My emotions took a better part of me and I yelled at them and walked away to my room. Now the outgoing President of the fellowship followed me back to my room and spoke to me about how you as a leader must realize it’s your job to keep things and people together and not tear them apart. He made me walk back and apologizedto the group. I did and never forgot this 10 minutes lesson. It has helped me navigate my career and ministry with ease and results where others struggled or failed.
One of the greatest strengths effective leaders have is an ability to properly manage and control their emotions.
There is a strong link between our attitudes and our emotions. Our attitude determines the emotional trajectory in which we lead (i.e., the way we approach the organization, team or ministry God has called us to and the influence we have on others.)
Control Your emotions Before They control you
The Bible is full of leaders reaping the consequences, both positive and negative, of responding out of emotion. A good example is Moses who found out the hard way that responding out of your anger can have serious ramifications. He struck a rock out of anger to produce water for his nagging followers which resulted in this response from the Lord: “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them” (Num 20:12). Wow! The good news is that you can do something about negative emotion and attitude.
Make A Decision That Control Is Possible
All behavioral changes start from one thing. The decision, acceptance and commitment in your mind that you want to make that change. In this case, self-control is possible but can be a long and gradual process. Only you can make the decision on how to control your emotions.
Remember that you hold the key to your own success as your behavior can threaten your career, position and success in life.
Identify The Emotions You Need To Control
Chances are you already know which emotions you need to control. The first step is to identify which emotion and start working towards it in the best way possible.