Early in my career I absolutely loved sending fiery emails. I am not just comfortable in conflict, at my worst some part of me enjoys it. After a particularly reactive response to an angry email from a vendor my manager pulled me aside and suggested I make a habit of taking 24 hours before replying to any email that ruffled my feathers. I had a ton of respect for this individual so I took his advice to heart, deciding then and there that I would implement his counsel as a discipline in my personal and professional life. I hold to it, as best I can, to this day.
I’m sure it comes as no surprise but neuroscience tells us that we make our best decisions with a level head. Emotion triggers the fight or flight response in our brains, and unless we have time to settle down we are going to react from a hyper-aggressive or fear-motivated posture. Believe me, I’ve been the initiator of the former more times than I care to remember.
In my lifetime, outside of 9/11, I can’t think of another time where it was more critical for leaders to keep a level head.