June 26, 2019•570 words
Emotional Intelligence IV: Perrin
With Rand, Hurin and Loial gone, it's up to Perrin to embrace the wolves to continue following the Fain's trail.
The one time he had gone to the dungeon, with Egwene, the smell of Fain had made his hair stand on end; not even Trollocs smelled so foul. He had wanted to rip through the bars of the cell and tear the man apart, and finding that inside himself had frightened him more than Fain did. To mask Fain's smell in his own mind, he added the scent of Trollocs before he howled aloud.
Perrin, The Great Hunt, p. 192
Perrin is burdened with guilt for having killed the Whitecloaks prior to their capture in the Eye of the World. Yet, in confronting Padan Fain, he finds himself almost insane with the urge to tear him apart. In the dungeon, his thoughtfulness and deliberate manner probably helped diffuse the situation. Perrin is terrified of his own strength and the ease of which he killed the Whitecloaks. Additionally, he's even more frightened of the burning desire to kill another person, even one as dark as Fain.
Unfortunately, Perrin did the completely natural reaction: blocking it all off. The vast majority of us are taught that anger and rage are negative emotions. They're simply emotions. Any negativity associated to them are imparted by us. Perrin has been roiling with this guilt and anger, and it weighs heavily on him. The very thing that he has been cutting himself off from, contact with the wolves, is what would help him work through this. The wolves are excited to meet another "Two-legs that talks"; they've already given Perrin the name "Young Bull".
Staying with intense emotions, not dwelling on them and continuing to be angry, for example; but observing the impact the emotions have on our bodies. Perrin's innate deliberate manner is ideal to cultivate this level of mindfulness. Choosing to embrace rather than rebuff the emotions, observing their effects instead of reliving the nightmare would likely be beneficial to him. Of course, this is incredibly difficult. It goes against every instinct we have. But it's crucial to maintain the approachability required to be an effective leader. Flying off the handle, or emotionally responding to bad news or a difficult problem is ineffective. It may get immediate results, but quickly destroys the organization from within. Taking that pause to sort out a response is critical. Walking away from an emotionally charged situation enables everyone to return more clearheaded and ready to collaborate instead of digging into their trenches for a fight. As leaders, it's important to model this behavior. While the internal assessments of feelings won't be seen; the calm exterior will be - and that's important. It keeps leaders approachable, provides avenues for meaningful feedback, it even keeps the overall temperment of the organization on a more even keel (organizations tend to take on the traits of its leaders). Like leadership itself, this level of emotional intelligence takes practice.