Stay Calm


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 leaderĀ is in charge.




A project team has the right to expect the Project Manager to lead them. Leadership does not always mean hand holding, and it does not always mean full delegating. It means that you care about what is happening, you provide guidance and vision, you support, coach, train your team.

You look for opportunities to advance your team members, or your project, or your customer toward what they value. You freely share your knowledge, wisdom and skills in pursuit of the objective. You inspire others to do the same.

Your loyalty should be with your Charter; this is your objective. Your strategy is to deliver your project outputs on time and on budget. Your greatest tactic to do this is to lead, inspire, engage and guide.

Leadership should (IMHO) be biased toward recognition and reward, and away from punishment. We can punish people into obedience, threaten them into compliance – but we must lead them into true performance. Since this is best for your project – it should be your “go to” position.

Not sure what leadership is? There are hundreds, thousands of resources on how to be a leader. Go find them, read them, apply them. Be sincere and honest. The rewards are fantastically greater then the effort you will put in.