All of us will face stress, urgency, emergency, crisis – powerful pressures that can cause us to become un-centered, upset, angry, frightened and generally emotional.
This emotional state is not a great place for making good decisions. Don’t misunderstand – there is nothing wrong with involving emotions in decision making, but ultimately the decision should be made from a position of calm cool headed consideration, fact based and supportable.
A calm steady demeanor, relaxed body, even speaking voice, confidence in managing the outcomes of the situation – these are leadership qualities that are admired and sought after. The good news is that this is a learned behavior. That unflappable PM you know was once as stressed and nervous as you feel. Even if it may seem as though someone is naturally calmer, they are subject to emotions just as we all are. They have had to learn how to remain calm and focused under stress.
It’s a confidence thing. To some degree, inner confidence comes with experience. Still, we need to develop and practice responding to pressure with calm fortitude and an even hand. Lot’s of very experienced people freak out when things go badly wrong, so it is not experience alone. It is your personal decision to be a calm reassuring presence in any crisis that is the main deciding factor.
So – when it hits the fan, take a deep breath or two, relax your body, straighten your shoulders and Stay Calm! You’ll make better decisions and your team will be glad a real leader is in charge.