Here is the benchmark: Healthy Christian Leaders self-regulate emotions.
Being aware of the impact emotions have upon others, they take action to manage their emotions.
One of the signs I was not emotionally well was becoming more critical in conversation. It became harder to hold my tongue—cynical and critical words flowed. Kindness was replaced with sharp bluntness.
I found it harder to act with restraint. The sicker I became I grew less aware of others emotions.
I recall really losing it in Grade 2. One very hot day, we were playing cricket at school. My “mates” saw I was not feeling good about my batting. They pushed and prodded me until I boiled in a rage. Reacting without restraint, threw the bat, shouted angrily, chased, pushed, and punched. Eventually I ran out of steam and recall feeling exhausted and very foolish. I said to myself that I never wanted to do that again.
Do you react without restraint or, rather, make measured responses?
It’s never nice when people react without restraint emotionally, especially with verbal abuse. I liken it to being vomited on. But it is an indication that something is wrong with or for the person. As leaders, it is our responsibility to not react but to help them get well.
What to do when someone or something pushes your buttons and you want to react.
- Take time to respond.
If it’s an email, don’t fire an email back.
- When it’s verbal abuse withdraw to somewhere safe. Be assertive, don’t put up with the abuse. Set personal boundaries.
- Take time to consider what is truth and what is emotion.
Yes, practise self-reflection.
Write down what you recall. Note what was said, and also, visible, measurable things, eg not that they were angry (that’s your conclusion if they did not say they were angry) but that they were shouting, swearing, shaking, waving fists, red in the face…
What accusation did they make?
Ask yourself the question, why are they reacting this way? What is the underlying cause?
- Get someone else in the conversation. Show them your email, ask for help to word the response that does not stir up anger. Blessed are the peacemakers!