Let me be clear about my intentions. I will not bash Cam Newton for his behavior on the field or during his interview after the Super Bowl. If I am honest with myself, I too have behaved poorly when my performance was not up to par.
My purpose is to share with you a leadership lesson I was reminded of while reflecting on the situation.
Don’t allow emotions to hijack your ability to lead yourself appropriately.
During the game, the pressure from the Bronco’s defense impacted Cam’s performance. Several times he threw the football out of bounds to prevent a sack or overthrew his receivers. Cam shared that he hated losing and sacrificed so much for the game not to go as planned. He admitted his emotions took over which led to his behavior (Associate Press, 2016).
When you become emotionally hijacked, the blood leaves your brain, and either renders you helpless or causes you to lash out if not managed. When I first became a leader, this was true of me. I remember making mistakes and verbally criticizing myself. Those I was responsible for leading would scatter. They did not want to be around me because I was acting like a helpless child. On other occasions when under pressure I would become demanding and would not listen to the ideas of others. Again, the people I was responsible for leading would leave the work area. Why, because I was acting like a critical parent and treating them like children. In both cases, my ability to influence others to achieve results was severely reduced.
To prevent emotional hijacks, you must understand how your thinking about a given situation creates emotions that influence your behavior. Cam’s behavior was influenced because he hates to lose; my behavior was affected because I needed to be perfect or get immediate results. Therefore, you can manage your emotions by changing the way we think about a given situation.
In my case, I changed my thinking by accepting my imperfections and realizing people will fully invest their talents when they are allowed to share their ideas about how to achieve the best results.
I do believe Cam will learn to better manage his emotions and achieve his goal of leading the Caroling Panthers to a Super Bowl victory.
Question: How has your thinking created emotions that influence poor behavior?