“Run for your lives!”

Oh crap! There’s a problem! It’s a big one. Where do all the eyes focus? Right on you. Pleading eyes and mouths ask, “What should we do?”

On the inside you might be saying, “Run for your lives!” But we know better than to book it out of the office with our hands flailing above our head. Instead we do something else.

Now, the question: What do we actually do?

Imagine you are sitting beside the play-by-play analyst and you are providing the “color” of what’s happening in that moment to an engaged audience. How would you describe it?

The reason I ask is because your audience, in this case the people looking to you for help, is doing that very thing. They are initially examining your demeanor, your facial expressions, your words not for an answer to the problem, but for something else. First, they really want to know if everything is going to be OK.

When we get just a bit of reassurance, then we  can mentally move on to solving the problem. So, tell them everything is going to be OK. You can do it in words. It will become evident though via your tone, your facial expression, your calmness, and in other ways.

Leaders must maintain level during times of unlevel.

Resist the urge to flee and calmly work the problem.

by Jonathan Wilson

Jonathan is the Head Coach at Sandcastle Company, a Seattle-based leadership training organization. His first book, Future Leader: Rebooting Leadership to Win the Millennial and Tech Future [link], is now available. Jonathan regularly writes and speaks about The New Leader Way, leadership resilience, and the future of work. He has years of leadership experience in both the public and private sectors, a master's degree from Seattle University, and professional coach training from the University of Miami.

Filed under: Leadership

Published on October 16, 2019

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