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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 Dragon Reborn - Chapter 10 [#100Days, Day 82]

Emotional Intelligence VI: Keep Calm And Aes Sedai

    Shifting to Verin, Egwene, Nynaeve, Elayne, Mat, and Hurin, who are making their way to Tar Valon, they encounter a small group of Whitecloaks.  The Whitecloaks stop the small group; delaying them in their attempt to get Mat to Healing. 

    "The Children have authority where the Light is, witch, and where the Light is not, we bring it.  Answer my questions! Or must I take you to our camp and let the Questioners ask?"
    Mat could not afford any more delay in reaching help in the White Tower.  And more importantly - Egwene winced to think of it that way - more importantlty, the could not let the contents of that sack fall into Whitecloak hands.
    "I have answered you," Verin said, still calm, "and more politely than you deserve.  Do you really believe you can stop us?"  Some of the Whitecloaks raised their bows as if she had uttered a threat, but she went on, her voice never rising.  "In some lands you may hold sway by your threats, but no here, in sight of Tar Valon.  Can you truly believe that in this place, you will be allowed to carry off Aes Sedai?"

Verin, The Dragon Reborn, p. 99

    Verin remains calm throughout a most frustrating encounter with the Whitecloaks.  Her outward lack of emotion causes doubts to rise in the Whitecloak ranks.  In comparison, Elayne and Egwene choose more aggressive postures, with Elayne openly identifying herself as the Daughter-Heir of Andor and Egwene answering with violence.

    "I am Elayne, Daughter-Heir of Andor.  If you do not move aside at once, you will have Queen Morgase to answer to, Whitecloak!"  Verin hissed in vexation.
    The Whitecloak looked take aback for an instant, but then laughed. ...
    There's no more time to wait, Egwene thought.  I will not be chained again! ... You will not take me!
    The man's hand was still going up.  With a roar the ground in front of him erupted in a narrow fountain of dirt and rocks higher than his head.  Screaming, his horse reared, and he rolled out of his saddle like a sack.
    Before he hit the ground, Egwene shifted her focus closer to the other Whitecloaks, and the ground threw up another small explosion.

Elayne and Egwene, The Dragon Reborn, p. 99 - 100

    In their haste, the younger women immediately reverse the course of the encounter.  Slow Verin's path may have been, but it would likely have resulted in the Whitecloaks grudgingly letting the women continue on their way.  Instead, Elayne's entitlement and Egwene's PTSD-induced paranoia make the worst of the situation.  Even cleaning up their mess, Verin keeps (mostly) calm.

    Verin regarded the Whitecloak wearliy.  "He was only trying to bully us, child.  He knew very well he could not make us go where we did not want, not without more trouble than he was willing to accept.  Not here, not in sight of Tar Valon.  I could have talked us past him, with a  little time and a little patience.  Oh, he might have tried to kill us if he could have done it from hiding, but no Whitecloak with the brains of a goat will try harming an Aes Sedai who knows he is there.  See what you have done!  What stories will those men tell, and what harm will it do?"

Verin, The Dragon Reborn, p. 101 - 102

    Keeping emotions in check, even in stressful situations facilitates clarity of thought.  For Verin, she's able to think several moves down the board, to the after effects of the younger women's actions.  I've mentioned before about remaining calm, especially when unpleasant news is delivered; it keeps the information flowing and keeps the stress levels of the organization and teams down.  One my bosses at the shipyard was fond of saying that he had to have an "unquenchable thirst for bad news" - dealing with problems is a large part of leadership.  It's tough to reign in the emotions; passion for the job and doing it right keeps teams motivated.  However, twisting that passion to give voice to frustration and annoyance just ends up working against the team.  Sometimes it's as simple as taking a deep breath; other times it may be necessary to (calmly!) explain the emotions being felt and why.  But outbursts, verbal or rock showers, do nothing positive.


Side Note: I appreciate the reality Jordan gives Egwene in her post-damane days.  Having everything just simply return to normal would have been completely unbelievable.  While her actions are somewhat annoying from the outsider's perspective; I find them completely true to form for someone who dealt with such an intense prisoner situation.  Her quickness to violence stems from a desire to shield herself from being hopeless to stop others from forcing her to it - an interesting perspective.


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