Leaders Need To Be Aware That Frequent Anger Leads To Poor Decisions
In recent blog posts I have been sharing with you How Emotional Stress Impacts the Perceptions of Leaders and why Regulating Emotions Is A Skill Leaders Need to Practice. Today I will share some additional interesting insights into how emotions, especially frequent anger, impacts leaders and their decision-making capabilities.
One very interesting revelation from recent research is that when we are angry we apparently believe we are smarter than everyone else around. This tendency to think that everyone is automatically dumber than ourselves when we are furious and feverishly angry was discovered in 2018 in a research study published in the journal Intelligence. The researchers studied people with trait anger.
Trait anger is defined by the Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine as a “dispositional characteristic where one experiences frequent anger, with varying intensity and is often accompanied by related negative emotions such as envy, resentment, hate, and disgust.”
People afflicted with trait anger are more likely to be described as having an angry personality characterized by hot-temperedness, and are also more likely to actually get angry. They are also more likely to display signs of narcissism — believing their world revolves around them — and go into episodes of rage when it does not.
Leaders with trait anger are more likely to wrongly think they are far more intelligent than the people around them, and thus less likely to consider the thoughts and ideas of others when making decisions. It is also harder to rationally argue with leaders who have trait anger as they are likely to react angrily to any comments or suggestions that oppose their views.
One of the best ways to prevent stress, especially emotional stress, from impacting decision making and thinking is to regularly stop and ask yourself this one simple question:
In what situations and interpersonal interactions do I regularly find my emotions and reactions working against me and my best interests?
Truly understanding the answer to this question — and then taking proactive steps to prevent emotional hijacking in such situations and interactions — is a sure-fire route to better decisions, better thinking, and better outcomes.
The next series of blog posts will provide ideas and techniques for reducing work-related and personal stress, as well as ways to cope and handle general emotional stress and anxiety.
This article is partially excerpted from my award-winning book Better Decisions Better Thinking Better Outcomes: How to go from Mind Full to Mindful Leadership, available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats. The book is the recipient of a Silver Award from the Nonfiction Authors Association for bringing “a comprehensive plan of action for improving life through recognizing decision-making patterns that don’t serve us well, don’t enrich our lives, and don’t bring us to our goals and dreams.”