“Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, only if one remembers to turn on the light”, said Albus Dumbledore, a fictional, yet one of the wisest men we know. Every leader that has ever faced a stressful situation would tell you that resilience is the only way to deal with these situations. Leadership in stressful situations can end up in two things: a leader succeeding, or a leader learning from their mistakes.
To know more about how great leaders come out of stressful situations and how you can learn from them, continue reading ahead.
How Leaders Can Come Out of a Stressful Situation?
Famous leaders of the world like George Washington, Jacinda Arden, and Abraham Lincoln faced many crises in their tenure. All of them also successfully dealt with these difficult situations. Here is what you can learn from them.
1. Come Out of the Denial Situation
When leaders face a traumatic experience, they often go into denial. They refuse to acknowledge the reality of the situation and keep telling themselves that all is okay. In reality, things are far from okay. So the first thing leaders need to do is get out of this ‘Denial mode’ and tell themselves that there is a crisis at hand. Once they acknowledge this, they can find ways to manage or avert the crisis.
2. Analyze the Situation at Hand
The next stage to solving a crisis is trying to analyze the issues and finding the root cause of the issue. Analyze the situation from all corners and try to broaden your perspective. Leaders often hold a very myopic view of the situation and end up misunderstanding the actual cause.
3. Get People on Board
After you have done a thorough analysis of the situation at hand, and you have come up with a rough explanation of the draft, it is time to build a crisis-aversion team. This team will not only support you and show you loyalty, but will also correct you when you are taking the wrong path. By following a democratic or participative leadership style, you can get the help of your team in reaching the right decisions.
4. Use Your Communication Skills to Explain the Situation
More often than not, leaders have a pretty fantastic team at their disposal, but they are unable to get everyone’s support. This is because leaders often lack good articulation skills. Although they have a deep understanding of what the problem is, they are unable to explain it to others. If you lack good communication skills, we recommend you join a training program and learn the subtle art of argumentation.
Also Read: 7 incredible tips to help you listen like a leader
5. Devise a Plan and Contemplate Alternatives
Get everyone to sit together in a room and ensure that no one is in a hurry to leave. Also, make sure that your team members have access to food and water, so they are not compelled by their urges. Next, initiate an open-ended conversation where you put forth a plan of your own. Encourage your team members to question your plan, find faults in it, and come up with any suitable alternatives. Also, make sure that you run simulations for each plan and finalize one that fits your criteria the best.
6. Gather Resources and Team to Pull off the Plan
Your next mode of action is to gather all resources at hand. Imagine you are heading a response team that has to avert a domestic terror situation. As a leader, you will need to pull off any reserved resources so that the casualties can be minimized. Next, create hierarchies within your team, so everyone is well-equipped with the role they have to perform.
Also Read: Us vs We: How good team leaders focus on the latter?
7. Have a Backup Plan
Even when you have a solid plan, things can always go south. As an exemplary leader, you need to be prepared for all things. Have a realistic backup plan. Most leaders will have backup plans, but these are not properly thought out and lack the proper resources and team heads. So before going into a mode of action, make sure you have something to fall back to.
8. Prioritize Your Health and Ask Your Team to Do the Same
If you are dealing with a long-term crisis such as a civil war or a market fluctuation like the one that happened during covid, you can not take everything to heart. Leaders often feel exhausted because they do so much in a short time and then experience burnout. If you want to fix the situation, make sure you take time out for your physical health, eat well, and ask your team to do the same.
9. Show Resilience if Plan Fails
Even with the best intentions and the most perfect of plans, things can still go wrong. There are a lot of external factors that come into play for the success and failure of plans. It is very rarely the fault of the leaders. So if something unfortunate happens to you, you can always show resilience and remain steadfast. Giving up is not an option.
10. Motivate Your Team and Help Them Recover
As a leader who has thought hard about success and then had to face failure, you must surely be upset. However, the time for regret is never. You have to buckle up, put on a brave face and be the voice of reason for your associates. You have to cheer them up and tell them all the reasons why they will succeed next time. This will help keep the motor of your boat running.
11. Show Patience if Recovery Is Slow
Post-recovery after any crisis can be slow, as it should be. However, you can not be sad and dismiss the idea of ever trying again. If the recovery is slow, take this time as an opportunity to think back on things. Assess and evaluate what you did wrong, and then find ways to do better this time.
12. Take Risks to Get Back on Track
An appropriate amount of fear and restraint is necessary for great leaders. However, leaders who are too afraid and too shy from taking risks end up remaining in the same place all their life. They face stagnancy. This is why once you have failed at resolving a crisis, you need to not give up and take chances at life again. You never know when opportunity strikes again.
How Should Leadership Deal With Stressful Situations
1. Do Not Play the Blame Game
When a crisis hits, the first instinct of individuals is to shift the blame to others. Although this is a natural response, it can be averted and changed. Leaders need to realize that playing the blame game will only make things more complex for everyone on the team. Instead, you should try to look inside and take accountability for your actions.
2. Eat and Sleep Well
This may seem counterintuitive to some, however, it is one of the best pieces of advice to give potential leaders. When you take care of your physical and mental health, you will be able to think clearly. You will be able to better analyze your situation and find ways to come out of the situation at hand.
3. Take Time for Your Mental Health
Leaders often feel lonely in their journey. There is no one else that probably understands their situation and realizes the magnanimity of the situation. This is why leaders should get the necessary counseling and therapy if need be. They can also try taking anxiety medications if they are under too much stress.
4. Share Your Feelings With Your Loved Ones
Your family is your best friend, in times of happiness and in times of crises. You have to have friends and family that you can turn to when you need genuine advice. These are the people who will give you the most honest opinion about your life and will help you see a way through.
5. Exercise and Remain Fit
One thing that will help you prepare yourself for any situation pre-emptively is exercising and remaining fit. Look at many great leaders who lost their focus and were unable to sustain hard work because their physique was not in line with their brains. So before doing anything else, make sure you prioritize your body.
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Resilience is often a conscious choice that individuals make. It is neither inborn nor comes naturally to individuals. When leaders face stressful situations, they are tested in ways that are unknown to them. The best way to come out of such situations is to remain steadfast, take care of your physical and mental health, and then think over the best course of action. A troubled mind, one that has given up or is under too much duress, will not be able to think clearly.
What Can Cause Leadership Pressure on a Leader?
The job and responsibilities of a leader are very extensive and require an individual to sacrifice a lot of their time and energy. This can create pressure situations where the leader feels that they have no escape and nowhere to go. Additionally, leaders feel pressured when they undergo a crisis, and they do not have the expertise to handle the situation well.
How Effective Leaders Can Resolve Conflicts?
Effective leadership can make warning parties, the ones riddled with conflict, set aside their differences and come together on the same page. Moreover, they play the arbiter and the moderator, so any conflicting parties can feel like their voices are being heard and paid heed to.
Does Leadership Depend on the Situation?
Do leaders behave according to their nature or nurture? It is a mixture of both. Leaders often adopt a particular leadership style, such as an inclusive leadership style or an exclusive leadership style. This determines their response. However, external stimuli and what is happening on the outside can also lead to them changing their responses from time to time.
What Leadership Style Teaches the Most Resilience?
Of the 12 popular styles of leadership, the one that teaches the most resilience is the transformational leadership style. This is because transformational leaders are in for the long-term game. They realize that the situation they are trying to fix is not easy and the status quo does not change overnight. This is why they are patient and do not rush when a crisis hits.