Calm is critical in leadership – particularly in a crisis. When an entire organization is dependent upon your products and services for routine daily operation, a brief outage can spell disaster. Such is the case for technology leaders. I’ve managed some doozies in my time: a 3 day virus outbreak, potential hacker breaches, critical administrative system failures, ordering system outages and more. So when we you see so many corporate crises, what do you learn? You learn the tremendous value of remaining calm.
What the Technology Leaders Know
Over time, I recognized something unique about the many technology leaders: nothing seemed to surprise them. In fact, one of my early mentors was the epitome of a calm leader. You could tell him the sky was falling, a plant was exploding and a water main burst right above the eCommerce servers. His response would be a flatly stated, “Okay, what are we doing about it?” He lacked no sense of urgency. He would push and inspire action mixed with high expectations. However, he always remained calm.
Without Calm, You Won’t Last as a Leader
In contrast, I can often identify someone that will not last long in technology or leadership, because they can’t keep their cool. When small issues bubble up and the first responder seems shocked, scared or unsure of what to do, you know you need someone else to lead resolution. In these scenarios, I look for the most calm person in the room and ask them for the update – regardless of their title or role. I know the most calm person will give me the facts – emotion aside.
If you’re a leader, you need to be calm in a crisis. People look to you for guidance. They need to know you’re in control and confident. If you’re frantic or panicked, the team will be as well. Panic and frantic responses leads to more mistakes and damage, not resolution. As a leader, you must remain calm to inspire others to be calm and drive resolution.
Question: What other benefits does remaining calm bring to the leader and team?