When I get exasperated, I ramble. This particular day I was rambling to my counselor about the frustration I was feeling with my own growth challenges. After patiently waiting for me to finish my blathering, she shared a concept that I had never considered – emotional maturity doesn’t necessarily parallel our physical maturity. Perhaps that should have been obvious, but like many others I had made a false assumption that we naturally grow in emotional maturity, as we get older. My counselor proceeded to explain that while our bodies naturally grow into adulthood, our emotions could stay trapped in childish patterns if we haven’t been given the tools to mature in our emotional health. That explanation provided some relief from the frustration I felt for the immaturity I was recognizing in my life and at the same time made me aware of the amount of work that was ahead of me.
I’m sure your leadership landscape is peppered with the scars of immaturity. The frustrated remark you made to your boss. The snarky comment you said to a co-worker. The door you slammed. The meeting you stormed out of. The cold shoulder you gave someone who didn’t support your initiative.
Not only is your leadership marred with your less than stellar moments, you’ve been on the receiving end of these emotionally unhealthy zingers as well. The scathing email from a volunteer who disagreed with your decision. The passive-aggressive tweet from a staff member following a difficult conversation. The employee who always has an excuse for under-performance.