When leading during times of uncertainty and adversity, crisis and change, leaders must avoid showing any signs of immaturity or lack of preparedness that will make employees feel unsafe and insecure. Here are 6 ways to maintain your leadership composure during the most pressure-packed moments:

1. Don’t allow your emotions to get in the way
Seasoned leaders know they must not to wear their emotions on their sleeves. They don’t yell or get overly animated when times get tough. Experienced leaders have sufficient emotional self-control that their body language doesn’t give anything away. If leaders allow their emotions to overwhelm them, employees interpret this as a sign of weakness or that their leader is not being objective enough or is too passionate about the situation at hand. Strong-willed leaders maintain their composure whilst still expressing concern and care – but not to the point where their emotions become a distraction.

2. Don’t take things personally
Leaders shouldn’t take things personally when things don’t go their way. Business decisions and circumstances don’t always play out logically because factors outside of the leader’s control – such as market forces or politics – often come into play. As the leader, remain calm and don’t get defensive or think that you must always justify your thinking and actions. If you take things too personally, it’s difficult to maintain your composure and make those around you believe that you have things under control. In fact, leaders who take issues too personally or worry too much about what other people think can suffocate their thinking and decision-making capabilities.

3. Keep a positive mental attitude
Employees are always watching their leader’s actions, behaviour, relationships and overall demeanour. During the most difficult times, leaders must maintain a positive mental attitude and hold fast to a positive narrative that keeps their employees inspired and hopeful. Remember, leaders set the tone for the organisation they serve. A positive attitude can neutralise chaos and allow the organisation to overcome a negative situation. Employees feed off the attitude of their leaders during times of uncertainty. Keep a positive mental attitude and never stop seeking solutions to problems.

4. Remain fearless
When leaders project confidence, they instill it in others. During uncertain times, leaders must remain fearless and project a cool persona that communicates composure to those they lead. If you begin to show fear or start to fear adverse circumstances, you not only put yourself in a position of vulnerability, but it becomes extremely difficult to act rationally and objectively. When you panic, you mentally freeze and your mind loses focus. When you notice you are anxious, ask yourself: “What is the worst possible thing that can happen?” If you are objective about it and have the will and confidence to face the challenge head-on, you will eventually realise that the situation is manageable and can be resolved. Faced with adversity several times over, your fears will eventually vanish and uncertainty will become your best friend.

5. Take ownership and positive action
Leaders show composure during times of crisis and change when they are fully committed to resolving the issue at hand. By taking ownership of the situation and instilling a positive mindset in others, you are more likely to take the right action and find solutions. This will give employees a sense that everything is under control and that the current situation can be resolved.

6. Act like you have been there before
Great leaders know that one of the most effective ways to maintain composure during difficult times is to act like you have been there before. Leaders that act to show they have been through the problem solving process numerous times before are those with strong executive presence who approach the matter at hand with a sense of elegance and grace. They are patient, are active listeners, and they will genuinely take a compassionate approach to ease the hardships that anyone else is experiencing.

So remember, it’s easy to lose composure during times of crisis and change if you let concern turn into worry and worry turn into fear. By maintaining composure, the best leaders remain calm, cool and in control – enabling them to step back, critically evaluate the cards that they have been dealt and face problems head-on. A show of composure also puts those you lead at ease and creates a safe and secure workplace culture where no one need panic in the face of adversity.

As the saying goes, “Keep Calm and Carry On!

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