Staying Level

Ahh…rage memes… Emotional outbursts don’t convey an image of maturity and leadership, do they? Leadership requires maturity. It’s not just a requirement, but an absolute necessity. It’s the most important piece – aside from honesty – to building the trust of the people you lead. They have to know what to expect in any given situation, and they can’t be afraid of it. But what is maturity?

Quite honestly, though maturity can be a lot of things, in this case I’m talking about emotional maturity. Emotional maturity is the ability to handle one’s emotions in a rational manner, thereby not allowing them to create any unnecessary damage. It’s about keeping yourself in the logical part of your brain even when you want to punch someone in the face.

The bottom line in managing your emotions is that you should put others – not yourself – first in how you handle and process them. Whether you delay or display your emotions should not be for your own gratification. You should ask yourself, What does the team need? Not, What will make me feel better?

– John C. Maxwell

According to leadership legend John Maxwell, the secret is to put the team first in every decision. It seems like a difficult thing to do, but when you remember that your purpose as a leader is to serve others, it becomes a much simpler thing. Remember, the job of a leader is not to benefit only himself, pushing others aside to get what he wants, as that will kill a team. It is not the job of a leader to destroy innovation and ideas, as that will stagnate a team. It is the job of a leader to lead the team, often sacrificing himself to help the team grow.

So, really, emotional maturity can be easy, as long as you’re willing to accept the responsibility of leadership. A great place to start flexing that maturity muscle is in the easiest spot to fail: email.’s Jeff Hadden (whose work we seem to share a lot) gives us this great lesson in how to eliminate snarky, negative emails from our offices. I mean, come on. They aren’t getting us anywhere anyway, right?

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About the author:

Michael McNew
Web developer, marketing innovator, technology enthusiast, and founder of Visceral Concepts, Michael McNew has developed a passion for delivering value to small business, turning his creativity towards image and reputation building for small business owners.