The only difference between anger and danger is the letter “d”.  We tend to value leaders who have a certain level of intensity but the reality is, leaders with anger problems will simply have limited influence and shorter tenures.

In Sam Walker’s incredible new book The Captain Class: The Hidden Force That Creates The World’s Greatest Teams, he cites a 2016 study conducted by Rutger sports psychologist Mitch Abrams.  His findings revealed athletes who “played angry” had diminishing returns.

The following were the results of his study about playing angry.  The findings have significant implications for anyone in leadership.

  1. Increased Conflict – Angry players drew increased fouls from referees.  Similarly, angry leaders are constantly dealing with unnecessary conflict.
  2. Limited Availability – A leader’s most important ability is their availability.  We need them.  Angry players drew increased sanctions and suspensions from referees.
  3. Decreased Individual Performance – Interestingly, the study showed increased anger actually impaired motor skills.  Angry leaders are often physically and emotionally unhealthy leaders.
  4. Decreased Intelligence – Angry players were less likely to have excellent problem solving skills.  Angry leaders are unreasonable leaders.
  5. Poor Decisions – In addition to having greater difficulty in solving problems, angry players were found to have poor decision-making skills.  Crisis situations require calm leadership with clear thinking.
  6. Decreased Team Performance – Limited Opportunities, Limited Availability, Decreased Performance, Limited Intelligence, and Poor Decisions.  Add it all up and you are a teammate and leader who is not helping your team.  You are actually hurting your team.

If you are an angry leader, there is still time to repent and change your behavior.  If not, your anger is hurting team performance and is not sustainable.


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