From Tantrums to Leadership
Image source by by Piotr Siedlecki
Weak, fearful leaders are like unrully two year olds. They create messes and throw tantrums. Undeveloped, incompetent leaders are “takers” who believe followers exist to serve them
Weak leaders take:
- Control. All micro-managers are fearful.
- Power. Weak leaders fill their need for power by dis-empowering others.
- Energy. Immature leaders suck energy rather than give it.
Six foot, two hundred pound, two year olds are dangerous, destructive, and deadly. Imagine a full grown adult kicking and screaming like an angry toddler. Scary!
Your inner two year old:
When you’re stressed, insecure or exhausted, you’re inner two year old screams to get out. He cries, “Pay attention to me.” Wise leaders listen to their needy, selfish, inner two year old.
Never ignore a screaming two year old.
Screaming two year olds have unmet needs. It’s not pretty but scream gets the job done.
Unfed two year olds get grumpy. Nurture the “little person” inside before the little brat destroys you and others. Never ignore an agitated inner two year old.
Ignored needs grow.
Constant giving creates empty cups. Take care of you so you can take care of others.
- Turn off electronic devices.
- Let go of something.
- Share inner secrets with someone you trust.
- Walk with a friend.
- Hold hands. Better yet, hug.
- Read a book for pleasure.
- Do what you want to do.
- Say, “No.”
- Write an “I’m thankful for _____.” list.
- Take a nap.
- Complete several small tasks.
Exhausted leaders are fearful leaders. Vince Lombardi said, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” Re-energize you in order to energize them.
Recharge before you become totally dischared.
You aren’t the energizer bunny.
When do you know it’s time to re-charge?
How do you re-charge your batteries?
That’s really good, Dan, thanks for the warning to be mindful and respectful of the inner two year old. (Me, I’m afraid of four year olds, inner and outer, but the point is well taken 🙂 )
🙂 … Best wishes with your four year olds.
I like and appreciate your insights about fearful leaders. They are fearful, because they are weak, they are weak because they are incompetent, and they are incompetent because they believe that there is other path of success. This belief of other path to success makes their belief strong and they continue to develop all the tricks, treachery and practices that can safeguard their position. Recently, I completed one research on employees morale and I found that leaders who follow discriminatory practices make coterie as a shield. And those who make the crowd, continue the philosophy of leaders. It means in the organization, when leaders make local rules or interpret rules, it is the clear signal of leadership ineffectiveness due to fearfulness and incompetence.
In the organization, time to recharge depends upon individual belief and capacity. Lower level has perhaps less capacity to re charge others. But they can create some influence by following right practices. But when you become leader and get capacity, you can re charge others by as many way as you can. But the important thing is to make them belief that you are the one, who can do something positive and concerned about the people. And I believe that recharging batteries is the mutual process. When people follow leaders, believe leaders and create charging environment, it automatically charge batteries. That time you do not need charger. Environment becomes charger.
Thanks for consistently sharing your insights… My special take way is that rules reflect fear. Powerful!
There is a place for rules to protect against abuse and assure consistent results in some manufacturing or customer service contexts. But, rules should be designed to deal with exceptions not day to day behavior. Competent people who understand their organization don’t need rules and the more leaders add them, them less motivation competent employees have.
Shouldn’t the use of words “leader,” “fear,” and “tantrum” together be considered a contradiction in terms? Somehow I’ve had the unique “opportunity” to work for two of these sorts during my career — neither for very long thankfully. I never considered them leaders; but I certainly considered them dangerous in leadership positions. They used fear as their primary management tool — when managing downward (they were ultimate suck-ups when it came to managing up). I hope none of your readers fall into this catergory, Dan. And I hope that if they’ve ever worked for (or are working for) a boss of this sort that they are able to get away as quickly as possible.
Your “take care of you so you can take care of others” advice is equally if not more important to people who have to follow these sorts.
Wonderful application. It’s sad you had these negative experiences. I hear about these sad situations all the time. Lousy leaders make like miserable for the people who follow them.
YOu make a good point that these individuals are leaders in name only.
The way I know it is time to re-charge is when I notice myself withdrawing from people. When I want to close my office door, it is time to re-charge! And that is exactly how I re-charge; I find a place of solitude, I plan a weekend with “no plan”, I sit on the patio at Starbucks with an iced tea and a good book…for hours.
The challenge is that most of the time, when I begin to burn-out and need that retreat, I am so busy that there is little time to retreat. That is when creative scheduling saves the day. There are a lot of little islands of time in any day, to find a little peace. Sometimes it is just 5-10 minutes in my car, before I go into the house or the office. It is amazing how energizing a little time alone with God can be.
Excellent article. My previous boss was that 2 year old, all about them and tantrums if they didn’t get their own way. Highly stressful to work for and o=not a lot of fun
STOP SENDINGS E-MAIlS NOW & I MEANT IT
Sent from my iPod
Great Post. I always know it is time to recharge when I view people as a bother. When the phone rings, I have a meeting, a team member wants to bounce something off me, and I view it as an interruption, I know its time to plug in and recharge or unplug and get away before I scare the children. When I don’t take time to rest and recharge I forget that I lead people not programs.
Tantrums occur when a situation we dislike taps into our reservoir of past bad experiences, some of them from the age of two years. For some, it’s hard for them to control the flood that happens. I recently experienced a person exhibiting a lengthy tantrum in a planning session I recently facilitated. We acknowledged that the person was feeling very frustrated, but insistent that they were the only person in the room feeling that that way. We did not enter into their complaint. The person settled down a little, but also decided to leave the meeting. The point is, a) acknowledge their feelings, b) don’t discuss their fears, c) set boundaries.
Must try this on myself next time I’m feeling anxious!
Ok I’m guilty! I throw tantrums sometimes. I just love your blog, it really helps leaders to become authentic and you deal with the real issues. Thanks for helping us to become great leaders!
Thanks Dan. Another great write up of something to watch for in others, and ourselves. We’ve seen leaders who not only go to these weak, fearful places with regularity, but, even worse, commit the cardinal sin of leading and making decisions from those states! It’s one thing to be human and have fearful, anxious reactions. It is entirely another to not have the wherewithal to know that you need to wait to lead/decide/interact meaningfully until you have re-centered and can do so not from fear, but from love, or most any other positive emotion.