Anxious These Days? Try (1) Staying Calm, (2) Staying Connected, and (3) Staying the Course.
One of the basic challenges we all face at home and at work is how to achieve a healthy balance between our thinking and feeling responses. When our level of anxiety rises, either as a result of internal stressors (headaches, worry about the bills, etc.) or from the escalating anxiety of those around us (a family major illness, lay-offs at work, etc.) – our feeling levels also rise, and it becomes more difficult to maintain a healthy balance between thinking and feeling responses.
We all have an automatic tendency to react without thinking, after which a vicious cycle can quickly be established, with heightened feelings feeding anxieties which in turn make us more and more reactive. Couple this natural tendency with the fact that anxiety is cumulative. That is, our anxieties at work are added to anxieties at home which are added to anxieties in our communities and even nationally or globally.
Resilient Leadership points out the need for a leader to understand the dynamics involved in this potential chain reaction and to know how to moderate reactivity in him/herself as well in others. How so?
One helpful technique that Resilient Leadership has adopted was introduced by Ed Freidman, author of Failure of Nerve. Friedman used the metaphor of a “step-down transformer” to describe a leader’s preferred response when dealing with an anxious system as they take steps to avoid the potential chain reaction described above. The quality of the leader’s presence in times of heightened anxiety will make the difference, all the difference, in the emotional system that underpins and deeply impacts the effectiveness and productivity of others. The leader who learns to lead from a position of calm, clarity and strong conviction is able to serve those he/she influences in a way that enriches and inspires them to do their best.