Sunday, January 9, 2011

Leaders Stay Calm in Crisis

We live in turbulent times, marked by crisis, conflict and change. People are looking for strong leaders who project calm and confidence. This leadership quality is as important as specific policies and actions. Think of FDR and his steadying fireside charts during the Great Depression. Or Winston Churchill and his magnificent addresses to the people of the British Empire during WWII. These powerful leaders gave people hope in the face of existential threats.

You, too, have the opportunity to grow as a leader even if you are in the early stages of your career. You don't need a title or explicit organizational authority to provide leadership as you and your colleagues are challenged by economic stress. You can show leadership by being positive (but realistic about the problems), focusing on the welfare of the group (not just the effect on you), and offering creative solutions to deal with the problems. And, always, stay calm.

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