Many of us remember one of the most common lies we were told as a child. If you have children of your own, you may have even told this lie yourself: “If you tell me, I promise I won’t get angry.” Although we have grown and matured since then, the threat of disappointing and angering someone in a position of authority never truly leaves us. It is for this reason anger—and strong emotional responses in general—can be an extremely potent leadership tool, one that I argue is generally misused within the Sea Services. The most effective leaders recognize the effect of their emotions on themselves and their crew and can wield this to maximize team benefits. The worst leaders fail at effectively controlling their emotions, lose their self-control, and allow their feelings to dictate their responses. I believe anger, when used sparingly, appropriately, and—most important—consistently, can help drive a team towards greatness.
The Emotional Leader
By Lieutenant Kevin Burns, U.S. Navy