How To Remain Calm As A Leader In The Heart Of A Storm

By David Henzel, co-founder of TaskDrive—we support sales and marketing teams with personalized lead research and outbound campaigns.

Let’s face it, most everyone has to deal with difficult times; but for business leaders, the way you handle tımes of crises can leave a lasting imprint, for good or bad, on those depending on you. Therefore, it is extremely important for those leading a team to remain levelheaded and constructive when the going gets tough. Let the following steps serve as guidelines for what you can do when difficult situations arise.

Don’t react, respond.

Sometimes, when it’s crunch time, a business leader can react to a situation that can be unsettling for members of their team. Reacting in the heat of the moment, versus taking a step back and figuring out the ideal way to respond, can lead to negative consequences when you are a leader.

As a leader, or as anyone dealing with hurdles, when a moment gets heated, it’s important to have the right mindset in place to ensure you respond to a situation rather than react to it. In practice, reacting could be described as flying off the handle, while responding is having a solution-driven approach.

Start with acceptance.

This might seem contrived to some, but simply accepting the situation you find yourself in is actually the first step to finding a way out. As a mantra, you can use the Serenity Prayer, which roughly states “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” More easily said than done for some, the following are five methods to get you into the mindset that can set you up for success when seeking solutions.


• Feel gratitude. No matter how bad a situation, most people, if not everyone, should have something in their lives to be grateful for. It doesn’t matter whether you count your blessings in your career, health or family life, feeling gratitude can shift your thought process from a place of fear to one of love. It is nearly impossible to be unhappy when recalling the things in your life you are thankful for. Stopping everything to sit down and think about your life in the grand perspective of things can help lessen the magnitude of any crisis.

• Try forgiveness. My own personal mantra is “Love, not fear,” which means that I make it a priority to ensure everything I do and say comes from a place of love and not fear. The fastest way to adopt this mindset is to forgive everything that bothers you. Whether you begin with yourself or the deemed culprit of a crisis, just start forgiving the situation and you may begin to see other aspects of a situation—such as factors that may have been triggers. If there is the possibility that the initial intentions behind the downfall were good, then stick to that scenario instead of assuming whatever occurred was done in malice.

• Face your fears. Setting aside time to actually acknowledge your worst fears regarding an issue can do wonders in providing perspective. This is similar to the concept of “Worry Time,” in which one can set aside a quarter of an hour or so to devote to worrying. If this is something you are prone to, stop and write down or think about what sort of threats you might face from a situation; the incessant negative chatter in your head will most likely subside. You may find that you are just repeating the same words that don’t serve the situation at hand. When you realize that your worrisome thoughts are no longer constructive, you can start focusing your mind on producing solutions.

• Retreat and reset. We all know that to be on your A game and to think clearly, the human body has some basic needs to be tended to, which are getting enough sleep, eating well, exercising and relaxing. All of these factors affect the way we think, so it is critical to make sure these basic human needs are in check. If you have a restart routine, then this is the time to do it. Alternatively, do something that makes you happy and can potentially get you to access your alpha brain waves, a state of thought processes correlated with feelings of calmness, creativity and an enhanced ability to process information. If you can access this state of mind, chances are you may find solutions you otherwise might not have come up with.

• Troubleshoot with clarity questions. This final step is when you sit down and start problem-solving. Whether you use an error log, where you list problems and match each one with a corresponding solution, or ask yourself clarity questions such as “How much will this matter five years down the line,” this is the time to look at the grander picture and devise the response to the situation that you want. How you respond is all up to you, but as a leader, taking accountability for your own actions can serve as an ideal example for your staff. A visual tool, such as the accountability loop versus the victim loop, serves as an excellent guideline to ask yourself the right questions in order to establish the response you really want to deliver when problems arise.

Let these methods serve as a way to remain calm and to best respond to any of the obstacles that surface in life. They can be especially helpful when you are a leader tasked with navigating the right direction to take when weathering a storm.

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