psyche-thumbElection fever is going up. In two weeks’ time, we will be lining up our respective precincts to choose the next leaders of our country. In the next two weeks also, I will talk about personality characteristics that may influence a leader’s ability to steer this nation and its people.

A leader has to be decisive but not impulsive. Any decision that is not thought-out well may be brought about by an impulse. But a decision, out of timing, is also disastrous.

When we think of impulsiveness, our best example would be children. Most of our children’s behaviors are impulsive behaviors. Observe how they talk and act. One time I brought my son to a friend’s house who was poor and he just blurted out saying, “Why does their house only have one door?”


An honest remark, yes, but may be too insensitive. And of course they cannot delay gratification. If they like something they immediately grab it or out of frustration and anger they hit or push someone.

But this is very normal in children because their brains are not fully developed yet. The prefrontal lobe, which is the seat of thinking and calculating, is not yet fully formed in children. But when they grow up and have mature prefrontal lobes, they are expected to manage their impulses and delay their desires and wants.


But an adult who is impulsive has a lot of problems. Impulsive behavior is at the root of any kind of addiction may it be substance, or gambling, sex, and other activities.

In another way, impulsivity is shown in behaviors such as inconsiderate utterances, illicit relationships, stealing, compulsive gambling, or physical aggression.

On the other hand, decision making is a process. It requires thorough consideration of available data. It is a search process in the mind looking for the best possible path or the most doable action given the circumstances surrounding any event.

But too much thinking in decision making is also ineffective. We have a term for that: analysis paralysis. It is the inability to launch and take action because of fear. An indecisive leader is no leader at all.

There are instances when leaders take on the “ready, aim, fire,” process. At other times, it has to be “ready, fire, aim, fire, aim.” And in dire circumstances, it needs to be “fire, aim, ready.”

An impulsive leader fires first before aiming or preparing. A decisive leader is always ready and depending on the call of the times, either fire immediately or aim and then fire.

They say leadership is a virtue. We cannot overemphasize the necessity of having a good leader. Hence, let us make sure that we rally behind a leader who is decisive and not impulsive.

P.S. At Bohol Child Head Start, we mold leaders by nurturing the very best of their intelligences. Come and enroll now! We offer Pre-Elementary and Elementary from Grades 1-6. Call or text 416-1248/09295571136. Or you can also visit our website at

(By Kit Nemenzo Balane)

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