As my family recently moved to Michigan from Oklahoma, we have come to realize spring is a much different experience here – complete with snow in April! However, spring in Oklahoma is not for the faint of heart. The weather is very unpredictable, and you can almost bet between the months of April-June, you will probably spend some quality time in your storm shelter. This is just a way of life and most people who have lived here for any amount of time are used to this, and don’t get too excited about it all. However, mention the word snow and there is some kind of crazy hysteria that breaks out – causing one to head to the local grocery store to stock up on supplies for what is certain to be the end of time.
I’m sure you are wondering where I might be headed with this? I have often thought about leaders and their level (or lack thereof) of calm in stressful situations. There are leaders who could be facing a nuclear disaster but you would never know it – they maintain the same calm, even demeanor. On the other hand, I have had the opportunity to work for leaders who fly into a panic if there is no coffee in the break room. And while I do consider coffee a very important part of my day, I certainly would not become panic stricken over it.
A leader sets the tone for the entire organization, (thanks for pointing out the obvious – right?) What happens when you have a leader who loves to hit the panic button on a regular basis? Does your organization join in on the fun, or do you try to keep your wits about you to maintain order?
How do you handle stressful situations within your organization? Are you successful in keeping your cool, or do you get a high out of whipping everyone into a heightened frenzy? As I used to say to my staff when things would get a little scary, “it’s my job to let you know when it is time to panic, and we have not reached that point.” Although everything would be falling apart around us, I never wanted my staff to really see how freaked out I was, as I felt it was counter-productive. They would spend more time being stressed instead of maintaining the course and serving the guests.
Think about this the next time something challenging happens within your organization – when is it time to panic?