It's 2:00 am and I am sitting in a small cubical in the Emergency Room with my dad, who is a senior adult. You learn things about yourself in the strangest places and in the most unusual ways. Such was the case during this ER visit. Because of the urgency of our situation, I needed clarity and communication. When the hospital provided it, I found myself able to make logical decisions based on the data I had received. However, when the communication slowed or stopped, the problems started.
I began to make assumptions, which led to accusations, which led to poor decisions that were based on little or no data. I was tired, and therefore allowed my feelings to begin to drive my behavior. I assumed that the staff was either incompetent or just didn’t care, and perhaps we should just take Dad and leave. This led me to action. While what I really wanted to do was confront whoever was in charge of this slow-as-molasses ER, I took a few moments to walk outside and re-set my emotions.
I then came back inside, found the ER physician and asked for clarity on my Dad's situation. Once I received that information I was able to process our next steps. What I learned was that when I am tired, I have to be extremely careful not to allow my feelings to drive my behavior. It's a simple but profound truth. After a few tests, a lot of waiting and a bit of medication, he was dismissed to go home.
As leaders we do not have the right to "feel" our way through decisions that affect the lives of those within our circle of influence. No matter how uncomfortable or difficult it may be; we must strive to stay aware of our weak spots or gaps. Choose to manage your feelings instead of allowing them to manage you and you will make a difference!