Everyone gets upset sometimes. Even leaders who are doing their best to practice kindness and lead by kind example. That's because being angry and frustrated are normal, human emotions. Everyone experiences them from time to time. Sometimes, people think that being a kind person, and leading with kindness, means not experiencing those types of emotions in the first place; and when they inevitably do that they have failed at being kind.
That it simply a myth. Being kind, and leading with kindness doesn’t mean never getting angry, upset or frustrated. What it means is that, as a leader, when you are in situations that cause you to feel that way, you slow down, and take time for reflection and introspection on what is causing you to feel that way and what you can do to handle the situation in a way that will have a “positive effect and outcome” for all involved. Including you! Often, as a leader, that will involve some thoughtful conversations and listening to others' perspectives with “open eyes, open ears, open mind and an open heart”. And it will also mean sharing your point of view in ways that are approachable by others. Using a tone of voice, and words that invite others into the conversation and de-escalate. It might not be easy, but it will be worth it. And modeling how to deal with normal, human anger, frustration and upset, will help those you lead learn how to practice kindness too.
So today, if you feel angry, upset or frustrated at someone or about something, don’t feel like you’re failing as a Kind Leader. Don’t blame yourself or beat yourself up. Instead, use the situation as an opportunity to practice and model kindness and kind leadership!
To learn more about how to manage strong emotions, and for exercises to use in your personal practice, please see Chapters 4, 5 and 6 of The Kind Leader!