Grace Under Fire … or Hair on Fire?

When the going gets tough and the risks emerge on a critical project or situation, how do you handle the intensity?

If asked to describe you in stressful situations, would your friends and colleagues describe you as:

Grace Under Fire


Hair on Fire?

Now I have to admit that I’ve always been partial to Mr. Heat Miser and his little heat minions 🙂  But that’s definitely not the reputation (or image) that I’m striving for.  How about you?

As leaders,  our perspective, tone of voice, and attitude are crucial.  Whether we intend to or not, we set the tone for how we manage conflict and respond to challenges as we navigate these situations.  It matters a lot and deserves our attention.  None of us are infallible, but just being mindful of our reactions and how we recognize and encourage our teams makes an impact.

When I size up a day, I will inevitably see moments where I could have handled a situation better.  But, thankfully, I also see bright spots where I may have succeeded in recognizing an accomplishment  (not just the challenge ahead), the effort that the team put forth (not just the amount of time til work is done,) the teamwork during a difficult situation (not just the issue we might have been dealing with.)

I am grateful to spend my days with a group of talented, committed and kind people that are working toward a common goal.  We have our moments, don’t get me wrong.  And stressful situations will test you as a team, but when we get it right it also forges our sense of common purpose and willingness to help one another.   Little by little the trust grows.  And the more trust there is, the better we can go:

“hard on the issue, soft on the person.” (quoting Henry Cloud)

So here’s hoping that we can all try to keep enough perspective and self-awareness when  stressful situation arise.


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