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Join me as I focus a leadership lens on fantasy books and series. Current Series: The Wheel of Time, by Robert Jordan (and Brandon Sanderson) Contact me: s10473@protonmail.com

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The Great Hunt - Chapters 17 & 18 [#100Days, Day 47]

Emotional Non-Intelligence I: Nynaeve 

    On the river trip to Tar Valon, Nynaeve and Egwene continue their introductory lessons with the various Aes Sedai in the Amyrlin's retinue.  It culminates in a lesson with the Amyrlin herself.  It does not go well for Nynaeve.  Nynaeve vents a frustration about "learning something useful" and the Amyrlin responds by wrapping her in invisible bonds of Air.  The situation quickly escalates.

    "... I could turn him upside down and paddle his bottom.  Just like - " Suddenly the Amyrlin flew backwards so hard her head rebounded from the wall, and there she stayed, as if something were pressing against her.
    Egwene stared, her mouth dry.  This isn't happening.  It isn't.
    "They were right," the Amyrlin said.  Her voice sounded strained, as though she found it hard to breathe.  "They said you learned quickly.  And they said it took your temper burning to get to the heart of what you can do." ... "You don't know everything yet, do you, child? Not the hundredth part of everything.  You did not suspect I could cut you off from the True Source. ..."

The Amyrlin Seat, The Great Hunt, p. 232

    Clearly, the Amyrlin deliberately provoked Nynaeve.  And Nynaeve fell for it.  In the end, however, the Amyrlin decides to break protocol and tradition to bring Nynaeve into the Tower immediately as Accepted, based on the tremendous potential she has.  At this point, however, I think it also can be seen as a reward for having such violent reactions.  From this perspective, it's not a good thing.  Separating results from the methods often gives this sort of reward.  A person in a leadership position abuses subordinates (extreme mood/temper swings; verbal abuse, etc) but from the outside, the organization appears to perform well, so a promotion is given.  This cycle repeats itself, for perhaps decades.  The behavior is amplified as the job pressure (perceived, self-inflicted, or actual) increases.  The stakes get higher, the impacts of failure become greater, as a result, the emotional outbursts become more frequent.  Did Nynaeve earn her promotion or did she bully the Amyrlin into it by slamming her head into a wall?


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