Anger is intoxicating. There’s no doubt about it. It’s powerful, and has the illusion of strength. People will often respond to us more quickly if we’re angry.
Anger can be a force to be reckoned with. The military recognizes this, teaching people to harness their anger as vehicles for mobilization during difficult moments.
“Don’t get sad, get mad”
The problem is, power gleaned through anger is power taken, not power earned.
Is it possible, I wonder, to have power without exerting our will over others?
Maybe what we are really talking about is leadership.
Certainly, there are many different styles of leadership. We are all familiar with dictatorships, where those in power exert their control over others. Failure to conform is associated with profound negative consequences. We are fearful of their anger. Think Stalin.
Charismatic leaders, on the other hand, rely on the leader’s charm and attraction to inspire devotion among followers. After meeting with Charismatic leaders, we are inspired to be of service. We leave feeling they are special. Televangelist Billy Graham is a famous example of this style of leadership.
Transformation leaders, on the other hand, inspire greatness. They instill valuable and positive change with a vision of developing followers into leaders. After meeting with these leaders, we feel special: confident and inspired to be more. Nelson Mandela is an example of such a leader.
I think we have all had times when we realized our anger had power. It’s a hard habit to break, particularly if we don’t feel safe.
Is this a time when transformational leadership might be an option for you? Maybe you are already practicing it. What does it look like in your life?
Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych. Founder, Landing Strong
This weekend, while at the cottage, my son Kyle came into the kitchen munching a Jos Louis.
“Where did you get that?” I asked, surprised to see it.
“The back of the cupboard,” he grinned.
“Funny, I don’t remember buying them.” Needing to see this for myself, I rummaged through the back of the cupboard. I soon realized why I didn’t remember buying them… the expiry date was September 28, 2016.
“Stop… that’s two years old!” I warned.
“And never tasted better!” he responded laughing.
Funny, not many things in life are like that. Most things decline with age. There are of course exceptions: fine wines, good cheese, and Jos Louis are among them. Bread found in IMP’s (military rations) are perhaps another. I’ll never quite understand how something can be deemed edible but non-degradable.
Doug Allen, former infantry Sergeant, Program Manager and Social Worker with the Landing Strong Team, is definitely someone who holds his own (and in fact keeps getting better) over time.
Doug spent 17 years in the Canadian Forces, stationed with the Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. He has conducted Peace support operations in Bosnia, combat operations in Afghanistan, and various domestic operations here in Canada. Since returning from Afghanistan in 2008, he has been working with ill and injured Canadian Force members helping them to overcome trauma and reclaim their lives.
Doug’s approach to trauma recovery focuses on reducing the ‘charge’ of fight/flight or freeze, and helping to break out of survival mode. He believes that every person has the strength to become well, as long as they are in an environment that inspires and empowers change.
You’ll recognize Doug by the twinkle in his eye, his quick grin, and his cool tattoos. We welcome his leadership and inspired energy. Hmmm, now that I think about it, he doesn’t seem to age… I wonder Doug, do you by any chance eat Jos Louis?
Connecting with Belinda
Founder Belinda Seagram, Ph.D. shares regular blog posts to inspire you during your journey.