Leading through crisis requires more of you – more energy, focus, and innovation.
Yet, sudden change generates great stress, which actively interferes with your ability to show up as you need to do.
How can you manage your emotions and thoughts effectively during this time so you can lead others through successfully?
Here are four steps that will help you tame stress and develop resilience during critical times so you can operate at your best.
1. Get grounded.
Making critical decisions requires a calm, sharp mind, able to keep all the pieces moving. How can you quickly ground yourself in critical moments?
Recognize emotions as useful.
Emotions are simply indicators that we need to pay attention. As you face a crucial conversation or decision, pause to ask yourself what emotions you are experiencing along with the situation.
What can these tell you?
This pause can help to regulate a “hot state” that can interfere with best thinking.
Unhook non-constructive thoughts.
What negative or non-constructive thoughts are you carrying with you during this time? Is there a “worry loop” that keeps playing in your head that does not serve you?
Reframe by replacing this with a different track each time the negative thought crosses your mind. This will lessen the stress that accompanies destructive thought patterns, and free you to make better decisions.
2. Create structure.
Structure promotes predictability, which reduces stress.
It is important for you to provide this for your team and organization – but you need to do so for yourself, first.
Prioritize what is important.
What is urgent vs. what is really important?
It is important to determine this, and revisit this on a daily basis. Make sure you schedule accordingly so urgencies don’t fill up your calendar.
Create a timeline.
This master document should have your priorities outlined so you can keep yourself and your team accountable. Revisit this on a weekly basis to adjust what needs shifting. Putting on paper what you need to keep in mind will free your mind to concentrate.
3. Stay connected.
Get a brain trust.
Who are the industry and other business experts that can serve as a think tank for you? How can you transmit this information to your executive team so that they can work to capacity with you? Decide how you can curate what you need to share, then incorporate this into your briefings.
Lean on your life team.
Make sure you have a life team that you can reach out to, and that has your best interests in mind. Decide together how and when you will connect to support each other, especially during crisis. Having people in your life to whom you can turn and be vulnerable allows you to draw strength for the task before you.
4. Reflect, then act.
Recall other uncertain times to draw from the lessons learned there. This will help you know what to do when you aren’t sure what to do.
For example, look back to a past market crash, or other crisis for comparison. Identify patterns, connect the dots. Notice similarities and take your best shot.
Calculated risks to move forward in such times have proved much better than the risks from inaction or decisions made without these considerations.
One key thing to remember is that crises are usually temporary; but decisions made during a crisis can have permanent implications. Protect your ability to make good decisions by…
1. Getting grounded.
2. Creating structure.
3. Staying connected.
4. Reflecting, then acting.
© Patti Cotton and patticotton.com. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express written permission from the author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that attribution is made to Patti Cotton and patticotton.com, with links thereto.
Patti Cotton helps executives optimize their effectiveness in leading self, others, and the enterprise. Her areas of focus include confidence, leadership style, executive presence, effective communication, succession planning, and masterful execution. With over 25 years of leadership experience, both stateside and abroad, Patti works with individuals, teams, and organizations across industries, providing executive consulting, leadership development, succession planning, change management, and conflict resolution. She is also an experienced Fortune 500 speaker. For more information on how Patti Cotton can help you and your organization, click here.