It wouldn’t be the opening weekend of the Husker football season (we all know last week didn’t count) if I didn’t at least mention the game and Coach Frost.

Calm. Cool. Collected. That’s what I’m hoping for from the coach. That’s what I’m hoping for the 18 year old true freshman quarterback…and the walk-on back-up who stepped in during the final minutes.  There will be ups. There will be downs. Stay calm.

There were two things my parents heard at parent teacher conferences every year when I was a child. I talk. And I have energy. They usually said I talk too much, and they usually said I said have too much energy.

I own both of those comments. Then and now.

As a leader there are times when those traits help me, and there are times when those traits get in my way.

I have had to learn (and am still learning) to listen.

And I have had to learn (and am still learning) to be calm.

Leadership is fraught with moments of mini and sometimes very real crisis. In those moments, listening and being calm are essential.

I saw it Saturday in the Husker game even though we did not get the result we wanted.  And I see it daily in our district.

Great leaders are like ducks calmly gliding along the water while paddling beneath the surface. Notice I did not say paddling wildly or frantically or madly (you’ve heard all the expressions), just paddling. We’re all just paddling.

A leader in our district said it like this in a recent great blog, “do not underestimate the impact of a calm demeanor in a stressful situation.”

As the intensity of a situation rises, my instinct is to increase my own intensity. In fact the opposite is what most people need from me in those moments. They need me to be intentionally calm. They need me to listen, to seek to understand the situation, to make a decision, and to act. I’ve written in the past about these ooda loops. They also need me to take care of myself, so I can take care of them.

There will be ups. There will be downs. Stay calm, cool, collected.

I have a long way to go with this. But I’m working on it.

2 thoughts on “Calm in a Crisis

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