For some of us, just the mention of that name makes us cringe. We don’t want to be emotional. It is not societally acceptable for men to be emotional. Society claims that women are preternaturally disposed to being overly emotional. Emotional people don’t fare well in business or leadership. Blah, blah, blah.
I’m an emotional man. I cry. I feel deeply. It is a part of my makeup. For the longest time, I hated that about myself. I hated that I would cry when speaking about something dear to me. I hated that my first impulse was always toward the emotional impact of an action on someone else. it is why I don’t speak my mind unless I’ve cycled through all of the possible emotional outcomes. To that end, I think that I’ve used being emotional as a crutch to keep me from stepping up and making key decisions in my life, marriage, education, career, etc. I know what the Bible says.
“The heart is deceitful above all things..” Jeremiah 17:9
The heart can’t be trusted. But can emotions? Especially where leadership is concerned?
I say that emotions can be indicators. Sometimes they can even lead us, but they can’t be the only thing that we make decisions based off of. To take it a step farther, I would say that instead of completely disregarding our emotions, a leader takes the time to embrace those emotions and allow them to process and filter through their mind, prayer, and the word of God. They might also bounce those emotions off of a trusted colleague or friend before acting.
Nehemiah did just that very thing. In chapter 1, when his brother Hanani came and told him about the state of the exiles who had returned to Jerusalem, it is written that Nehemiah wept and prayed for several days.
“For several days.”
I believe that is an important thing to remember for leaders. In this world of urgency, where being on time is actually being very late, leaders have to remember to stop and process. Emotions are important. We have to be mindful that we do not shove them down all of the time, but allow them room to filter.
Leaders when faced with emotional outcomes and problems, don’t be afraid to give yourselves the room and time to process. It may not be popular. it might feel as though things are crumbling around you while people wait on you to sort through your feelings, but the end result will be a much more complete decision, without the burden of wondering according to your feelings later.
Rebuilding the walls of our lives require honesty from us most of all. We can not lead effectively out of a lie
We can not lead effectively out of a lie.
Whether it is an emotional lie, a psychological lie, a little white lie, or a hidden lie. Every lie places chinks in our armor that threaten to topple the work that we have been charged to do. Emotional honesty is paramount to producing the results we need as we attempt to do what others deem impossible.
Nehemiah cried and prayed for days before his King saw the problem on his face. But I believe that the days that he took to go through the emotional process and pray, helped him be ready for what was to come next.
To process emotion is to prepare the path forward.
Not everyone will agree with this. I’m cool with that. After all, I’m an emotional man. But after 36 years of fighting against it, I finally recognize how to lead in strength because of it. Not in spite of it.
Give your emotions room to breathe, and every other area of you will be free to flourish.
Rebuild the wall!