Should you ever rant and rave to make a point?
Should you ever exhibit signs of outrage to provoke action?
Should you ever “read the riot act” to change group behavior?
The short answer is “yes…but rarely”.
Passion and urgency are indeed among the tools a leader must have available to use. But “powering up”, as it is sometimes called, must be used very carefully, very purposefully and very sparingly. Otherwise it can be rendered ineffective and actually dull your followers’ ears to your leadership.
There are at least four occasions when you need to resist the urge to rant, and just chill out.
1. When you’re tired
When you get tired your mind is not as sharp and your judgment is impaired. One result can be that you find yourself becoming easily angered over stuff that just shouldn’t bother you.
Never use fatigue as an excuse to power up over your people.
2. When you’re frustrated
None of us are immune to the pressures of day–to-day living. We all get stuck in traffic jams, we all deal with family pressures, and we all receive bad news throughout the day. But as a leader you need to set that aside.
Your people don’t deserve to feel the brunt of your frustration.
3. When you’re trying to copy someone else’s leadership style
Maybe you’ve seen another leader use a “give ‘em hell” style to achieve results, and you think you ought to give that approach a shot.
If you’re simply copying another leader’s style you’ll come across as disingenuous.
4. When nothing else is working
You’ve tried to vision-cast your people, and they’re not moving.
You’ve tried inspiring them to follow the direction you’ve set, and they’re not coming along.
At this point there can be a temptation to resort to start powering up. Resist that urge.
So before you power up take a moment to evaluate your motive. If it turns out your reasons for powering up are off-base, there may be a better option.
You may just need to chill out.
How do you know when it’s time to power up, or when it’s time to chill out?