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Keeping CALM under pressure

Updated: Nov 2, 2023

How does leading under pressure and staying calm help?

How to lead under pressure and stay calm gets the best results even in demanding times. Leading well relies on self-awareness of your thinking and feelings. We are in a VUCA world (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity). The news and what happens around us can be overwhelming. However, how we think about those external events creates how we show up and feel to take whatever action is required.

You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, the encountering may be the very experience that creates the vitality and the power to endure. Maya Angelou

When vitality is something leaders genuinely portray and experience in challenging times, people will take their lead from their leaders. The vitality which is role modelled can build teams during difficult times. We can be kind to ourselves and seek support when we need it. We want our peers and teams to act calmly and rationally and not be more fearful or experience more hardship than they need to.

Leaders focus on the crunch point between three elements in learning how to lead under pressure and stay calm:

3 focus areas: "How to lead under pressure and stay calm"

Self Care - Calm

  1. When we use everyday self-care for our body and mind, we physically stay calm even we are leading under pressure. We can't sustain calm without self-care, and we can't remain vital. A journal can help to get some of those thoughts that are keeping the calm at bay.

  2. Limit sensational news exposure. It's draining and keeps your limbic brain engaged in fear; get what you need and don't obsess.

  3. Focus on your wellbeing – sleep, exercise, healthy food, hydration etc. Everyday practices keep us grounded and allow our bodies to perform.

Loved ones - Calm

  1. Keep calm – it helps others to stay the same and help you feel safe when you are not leading at work

  2. Listen – when we understand, we can explore options and solutions and create thoughts that will serve us rather than hinder us.

  3. Share your plans – people around you will know how they fit in

Self-Lead - Calm yourself

  1. People first – It's always people (US!) first, no matter what task is involved. So if we pay attention to our calm first then other people, the rest will follow.

  2. Team engagement – create a plan you are comfortable with and understand how it impacts you, your customers and your team, including logistics.

  3. Communicate – people like to know what you are thinking about and talking about even if there is no official news. A quick daily huddle (virtual or otherwise) even with yourself!

The potential upside of a pressured situation is enhancing our sense of self and community in a crisis and helping and supporting ourselves and each other. These actions can create a solid commitment to each other in teams and families and carry on far into the future.

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