Anger is not looked upon as a good thing in our society, and for good reason, as we associate anger with violence and emotional turmoil. But let me introduce to you a new way of looking at anger so that you can become a powerful leader.
In my opinion, there is a good way to use anger and a bad way to use anger. The good way is to use anger as a positive force of motivation to seek justice.
Bad anger is what I call ‘low-intelligence anger’
Bad anger is when you have a short fuse, angry outbursts, or when you are blind to other people’s point of view, and when you selfishly want something you are not getting.
This type of anger is both harmful to those who possess it and to those who are on the receiving end of its tyranny. This type of anger always produces a lose/lose situation and degrades our relationships, community, and our society as a whole.
Let me make this very clear in the event that someone misunderstands what I mean by using anger to become a powerful leader. I am not talking about your boss at work who treats you poorly and is always angry that your work isn’t good enough even though they are half the problem. That is an example of someone who may be emotionally immature, incompetent, or abusive. This is not how to use anger to become a powerful leader.
Differences between the types of anger:
|Bad Anger||Good Anger|
|Consumed by their selfishness||Personally sacrifices for the good of others|
|Exposes their own ignorance||Demonstrates a keen understanding|
|Lack of self-control||Exhibits self-restraint when appropriate|
|Causes injustice||Serves justice|
|Hurts people||Protects people|
|Degrades humanity||Preserves humanity|
|Strips away value in life||Provides rich meaning and purpose|
Good anger seeks justice and values human beings
From here on I’ll use the word anger in reference to ‘good anger’ only.
All true leaders have anger flowing through them. They might not display or express it to anyone else, yet it motivates them. It not only stirs the heart but it drives leaders to action. When someone is angry at injustice it is the correct response. It is a motivational force that compels leaders to act and stand up for what they believe is right – even at their own risk.
In this sense anger is protective. It stands on principles and it stands up for people. This type of anger can be referred to as righteous anger. This anger is love, a love for what is right, a love for people and their livelihood.
Leaders are not those who run large companies or are appointed to lead. True leaders are those who stand up against political, corporate, social, and cultural injustices and provide a voice for those who can’t be heard.
They do this out of a great anger that brews inside of them because of the needless suffering that they and other people experience. It enables them to fight the good fight because they realise how vulnerable we all are.
I recently watched the documentary series Making a Murderer on Netflix that covers the murder trials of Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey. The documentary suggests evidence of police corruption involved in the trails as the series points out the failure of the legal system to protect the innocent.
You’ll have to watch the series and read about it to make up your own mind on the specifics of the cases, but there is public outrage among many people who believe Steven and Brendan were falsely imprisoned. I highly recommend watching the series and deciding for yourself.
When I was watching the series I became increasingly aware of our vulnerability to the legal system and those who possess positions of power within our societies. When those who are meant to protect us begin to endanger our lives, we are at our most vulnerable.
Anger provides the energy necessary to stand committed to your moral convictions in spite of opposition or vulnerability. Unlike those who are short-tempered, those who possess truth-seeking-anger are an enduring force who provide hope for justice.
Anger produces dreams
One of the greatest examples of someone who possessed righteous anger, and used it effectively, was Martin Luther King, Jr.
He was a powerful leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement and demonstrated true leadership as he focused on the important issues of his time and stood up for his conviction.
It’s easy to see the conviction of this man’s heart by looking at just a few of his statements.
“If I wish to compose or write or pray or preach well, I must be angry. Then all the blood in my veins is stirred, and my understanding is sharpened.”
Anger + love = passion
If you really think about it the type of anger I’ve been referring to is infused with love and results in passion.
A powerful leader is fueled by passion!
So how do you tap into your inner anger and ignite the flame that brings change?
- Identify your pain points and find your ‘passion!’ – What you want to change
Wherever you are most hurting is the place you are authorized to help others. When you’ve been through something yourself you are not only able to empathize with others but you have the anger and love to passionately help people in that area.
Examples: think about events that have negatively impacted your past, times you have been poorly treated, how abuses of power or manipulation in systems has affected you.
- Find an avenue to express your anger through love – How you start the change
There will be some kind of avenue or medium where you can contribute towards your cause. If there is no pre-existing avenue then create your own – this is the sign of a powerful leader. Creating an avenue to harness your anger not only provides a structure to turn your passion into action, but it forces you to engage with others and ignite change.
Examples: Your medium could be your business, peaceful protests, blogging, holding local meet ups, your work, your lifestyle.
- Align your ‘life’s work’ with your anger and love – Sustain and continue to bring change
You don’t have to be a missionary, quit your job, or leave your business to align with a cause or passion. You don’t need to save the world, but it’s a powerful thing when you align your life’s work with something greater than yourself.
Example: I create videos and written blog posts to help encourage creative people who have been misunderstood by society – my work helps them overcome their fears and succeed.
Here’s a mental picture to help you to never forget the ‘Anger + Love = Passion Principle’
This section is a little abstract but it shouldn’t be hard to grasp. Its purpose is to help you remember this principle through a story so that you can implement it in your life.
The BBQ Story
You are at your own party and you’ve set out to cook the best tasting food for all your friends to enjoy with your brand new BBQ. You turn on the BBQ and its scorching hot… a bit too hot to cook your steaks (or vegetable alternatives) without burning them. So you turn the flame’s control valve to the ideal temperature to create the perfect heat and cooking environment for your food.
You serve up some of the best food that your friends have ever tried and they all tell each other how delicious your meals are. They are so impressed they all vote to hold a BBQ every weekend. Not only that, but some of your friends get so engaged that they want to learn how to cook from YOU!
Interpretation of the BBQ Story
Anger is the flame of the BBQ and love is the flame’s control valve.
Without the flame, you wouldn’t have been able to provide all that delicious food for everyone. The delicious food is the benefits of the change you are bringing.
But if you only had the flame, say a fire pit that had no control valve, you would have burnt the food. This would erode all the benefits of the change you were trying to bring.
Love, like the control valve, enables you to create an ideal state and environment.
The BBQ is your avenue or medium. Without the BBQ you have nowhere to harness the flames and nowhere for a control valve to function.
The party is society as a whole. Once people taste the benefits of the change you are bringing they’ll want to implement it into their lives on an ongoing basis.
The friends that want to learn how to cook from you are advocates of your cause and see you as a leader. They want to cook like you and continue the BBQ parties. They want to represent the cause and provide change just like you do.
Remember, if the BBQ gets too hot you’re going to burn the food. If your anger goes too out of control then your positive change will begin to turn into a negative change.
Warning: Fighting for a cause?
This idea is summarised quite nicely (although from a different perspective) by the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche in the quote below.
Conclusion – Become a powerful leader
So how do you use anger to become a powerful leader? You anchor your anger with love and you find a place for your ignited passion to unleash itself through your life’s work.
Question: What are you passionate about? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
Question: What are you passionate about? You can leave a comment by clicking here.