Does anger have a place in leadership?
Yesterday, 16 year old climate and environmental activist Greta Thunberg delivered a moving speech to the UN Climate Action summit in New York.
Her emotion ranged from lamentation to frustration, anger and deep indignation.
It was palpable and forceful. Exactly what the world needed to hear.
Read the entire speech here.
You may think anger has no place in leadership, but when we look at some of the greatest leaders of all time, including Martin Luther King Jr., Winston Churchill, and Jesus, anger has been linked to leaders in times of crisis, social injustice and our “lowest lows.”
If you just recognize the intention behind the anger. Then you will notice the purpose.
- What’s my/their intention?
- Is my/their anger meant to hurt people or to disrupt the status quo? To shake people out of their automatic complacency?
- Is my/their anger a stress reaction or a forceful response? A rallying cry?
- Does this time in history deserve their ire?
In Thunberg’s case, she read from pre-written notes, so she took the time to poetically write thoughts that were strung together with several instances of “How dare you?”
One of the most moving lines:
“We are in the middle of a climate breakdown, and all they can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth.”
Personally, for me, Thunberg’s speech was a rallying cry. A forceful calling forth.
I definitely needed to hear it.
How about you?