I just got off the phone with a client of mine who’s an executive at his company. My client shared the owner of the company just physically pushed someone in the heat of an argument. They had to call the cops.  

Especially in these situation this is why leadership and emotional intelligence matters.

Most people might run from this situation but here’s what I coached my client to do.  

I advised him to be the compassionate person in this situation. To see what’s going on for the owner. They are so frustrated and angry they are taking it out on others and don’t realize it.

See, when we are frustrated and react in anger there’s something under that anger that is hidden from our view. We react from it and point to others to blame them. Usually it’s sadness they haven’t processed yet. Most times it’s multiple situations or issues they are dealing with. It’s very common for leaders to feel alone and not know where to turn because of a perceived weakness of asking for help.

One way through this is to witness and acknowledge the person who is having issues. Here’s an example:

Example: I see you’re really frustrated and I can’t imagine what you are going through. In fact, I don’t know and I can tell it must be hard for you. Just so you know…I’ve been that frustrated too. I just want you to know while I might not know what’s going on for you is that I have your back. I am here to help you in whatever way I can. Despite any differences we might have. Whatever I can do please let me know. 

When we are really frustrated and angry the one thing that can help dissipate these situations is acknowledging them so they feel heard and understood.  

After you let them know that they may open up to you and they may not. That’s ok. It’s usually enough to help that person move in a better direction.

If they do open up the best thing you can do is just listen without judgment and see what’s happening in their life. There’s a lot of weight on executives shoulders and many of them learn to hide it well.

When we can all be understood better we can open up more. When we are more open everything flows better.

Our emotions are meant to be felt and understood not blocked and pushed down. Just like a river flowing. If you block it long enough the dam will burst eventually. We are the same way.  

It’s ok to be sad. It’s ok to be mad. It’s ok to be glad. It’s ok to be happy.   

It’s just not ok to stay stuck.