If you have ever seen a picture of an iceberg you know that there is a portion of it that rises above the water and the rest is below the water. This is the perfect metaphor for a leader. Above the surface it is calm and everything appears to be good. Below the surface, however, there are the unknown things occurring that we can’t see.
I have been told that I am a very calm person. I try to be calm especially when there is a lot of chaos and change going on. Even if everything is going wrong, I want to show my team that we will figure it out. Being calm is not only for your team, but also for your management. They want to know that you have everything taken care of and they don’t have to worry. If the leader of the team starts to show that they are stressed out, then the rest of the team begins to wonder what’s going on. This is especially challenging as a leader when you know information that will impact your organization. You will most likely know about layoffs, organizational changes, etc. before the rest of the team.
Be as transparent with communication as you can. Proactively tell them that you will share information about the situation when you can. If there are things you know that you can’t share yet, tell them that too. I have always found that people respected the fact that I was as honest as I could be with them throughout the process. Let them ask you questions that you can take back to your management. Managing information in these situations is the biggest challenge. People need to get it off their chests and share what concerns them. You need to listen to them and be there for them throughout the process even if the situation occurring may have impacts for you as well. This is why I have so much respect for the front line leaders. They have to deal with so much information, figure out what can be shared, continue to put on the calm face for their team and still get things accomplished.
If you don’t demonstrate calm, then people start to worry. Being as transparent as you can be will alleviate some of the apprehension about the situation that people may feel. It is much worse to be told nothing and no idea when or if you will be told anything. When no information is shared, people begin to make up their own assumptions of what will happen. They will make up their own stories and then you have to deal with clearing up the misinformation, get people to focus on their job and re-engage them.
Being calm in the midst of all the craziness just allows your team to keep moving forward and accomplish their goals. It is allowing your team to move forward while you deal with the things that are under the surface. These are the things that they can’t see and the things that you need to manage. Being calm in any situation is what makes your team feel supported and is a leadership trait that will make you successful. Think back on situations that you went through where there were a lot of changes. Did you have a leader that was calm? What can you learn from that leader and how they handled things to apply to your own leadership?
A lot of the clients that I work with are going through the similar challenges of leading a team. Working with me can help you move through that learning curve more quickly. If you would like my help to develop these traits and be a more confident leader, please set up time to work with me: http://susanmbarber.com/schedule-an-appointment/
Receive my leadership blog in your inbox each weekday morning focused on your personal development and actionable ways to help you grow your leadership!