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I had an interesting exchange with a local sign supplier a couple of weeks ago that reinforced just how much of a career derailer a lack of impulse control is. I'm sure that you've experienced it at some point during your career. The ultimate is when someone hits the reply to all button and send on a totally toxic email that ends up going places it never should have gotten to. If anything it seems like the problem is becoming more prevalent as we continue to embrace social media.

In the work I do with my leadership development clients using the EQ-i 2.0 emotional intelligence assessment we often talk about the four most common leadership derailers. Number one on that list is Impulse Control along with Stress Tolerance, Problem Solving and Independence. Because of the high expectations that are placed on leaders, it is important to strive towards exceptional performance in these areas in order to prevent moments where you may actually avoid your leadership responsibilities.


 
 
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Edward Benton-Banai's The Mishomis Book: The Voice of the Ojibway, first published in 1988, provides some powerful lessons for any leader, or aspiring leader, as well as being a road map for organizational culture. The 7 Teachings are a set of teachings on human conduct towards others that would alter the way many organizations do business if they were to be incorporated into the mission, vision, values and culture of any organization.

Wisdom
 In the Anishinaabeg language, this word expresses not only "wisdom," but also means "prudence," or "intelligence." For a leader in today's ultra competitive landscape wisdom is the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight. This involves an understanding of people, things, events, situations, and the willingness as well as the ability to apply perception, judgement, and action in keeping with the understanding of what is the optimal course of action. It often requires maintaining control of one's emotional reactions.


 
 
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Sun Tzu, writing in the 5th century BC in The Art of War said: “What enables the wise sovereign and the good general to strike and conquer and achieve things beyond the reach of ordinary men is foreknowledge.”

This is a very real attribute of a great leader – the ability to predict. No matter the level of managerial and people skills the business leader possesses, they will all be jeopardized if he or she cannot anticipate the effects of the plans they put in place, and the actions they take. In some instances, it may be that past experience and intuition takes precedence over consultation with the “troops”, who may not understand the full ramifications of what is about to take place.


 
 
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I think most people have experienced those overwhelming moments in which we're faced with the stress of generating great results, under the pressure of time while also ensuring a "wow" factor customer experience. We want those clients to come back for more and the best way to do that is to provide a timely value proposition that will leave them singing your praises.

I experienced something on the weekend that got me thinking about how often organizations fail to maximize the talent they have available to them in times of stress. What I witnessed was two business owners completely engrossed in the transactional, tactical, heat of the moment, trying to solve the problem of timely product delivery while the hired help stood by and watched. Communication broke down, process flew out the window and the stress of the moment magnified.