This is a post by Sarah Brooks from Freepeoplesearch.org. She is a Houston based freelance writer and blogger. You can connect with her via email at brooks.sarah23 @ gmail.com.
Stress and anxiety are natural features of today’s fast-paced, competitive work environments, where things can change at a moment’s notice. Hyper-connected communications and volatile markets contribute to business environments that sometimes walk the line between order and chaos. As a result, effectively managing workplace crises is an essential requirement for successful modern managers, who share the unique ability to operate under pressure.
Although specialists still exist in most industries, modern leaders are increasingly asked to juggle multiple responsibilities within their organizations. Consequently, they face pop-up crises that require quick-thinking and immediate resolution. And while there is no cookie-cutter solution to crisis management, successful leaders use some of the following strategies to diffuse stressful workplace developments.
Control Physiological Response
The human body responds to stress in a number of ways, which escalate alongside the gravity of the issue at hand. Effective leaders keep tabs on physiological responses, which have a tendency to spread during crisis situations. Calm, even communication, for example, leads to better outcomes than harried efforts to issue instructions and responses.
Deliberate, steady breathing patterns contribute to an even response to workplace dilemmas. And controlled breathing also regulates a steady heart rate, which further reinforces leaders’ calm demeanor during interactions with co-workers, employees and team members.
Not knowing what to do is sometimes used as an excuse for doing nothing. Rather than give up, effective leaders strive to find creative solutions to the workplace crises they face. In order to stay focused on an issue, competent managers resist the urge to react impulsively to crisis situations. It is easier said than done, at times, because issues arise suddenly; drawing knee-jerk responses. Absorbing the details and focusing on core issues allows effective leaders to apply sound reasoning to decision-making, rather than impulsive behavior.
Use Humor to Diffuse Anxiety
Serious situations call for pointed, thoughtful responses, but somber approaches can slow crisis response. More often than not, there is a lot at stake for leaders responding to workplace crises, so the gravity of an incident can choke innovation and creativity responding to the matter at hand. Without losing decorum, effective leaders know when to inject humor as a motivation tool or inspiration for problem-solving. Often, deep breaths and shared humor are enough to lighten the mood and refocus staff.
Prepare in Advance
The only constant is change, so it can be difficult to anticipate the types of crises that may arise in the workplace. But the volatile nature of business actually presents a strong argument for advanced preparations. While you may not be able to foresee every aspect of a particular incident, knowledge gives you the ability to respond to a variety of concerns, preparing you for whatever might arise on the job.
To remain positioned to respond to crises, effective leaders build contingencies into their preparations, furnishing multiple paths toward positive outcomes. With a broad knowledge base about specific industries they work in and a range of solutions to choose from, well-prepared leaders have the best chance of prevailing during crisis.
Use Available Resources
The abilities to delegate and collaborate are shared by many successful leaders, who efficiently use the resources at hand to maximize returns. The same principles are reasonably applied to crisis management, which benefits from a unified team approach. Most often, managing crises is facilitated by creative thinking and innovative solutions, so leaders best-able to harness the power of diverse team members set the stage for positive outcomes. And while personnel are among leaders’ most valuable assets, taking advantage of other resources also supports effective leadership. Technology, for example, is another crisis management tool that effective leaders apply aptly.
Leaders respond to a variety of crisis situations, so staying prepared helps them manage unanticipated events in dynamic business environments. By staying calm and focused, effective leaders inspire team members to rise to the challenge during trying times; increasing the likelihood of positive outcomes.
Question: How do you lead during a workplace crisis?