One of the important benefits of mental toughness in leadership is being able to control how emotion affects you and those around you.
Certainly I found as a leader, that when the pressure was on and we were facing complex issues and pressing deadlines, I wanted the team to stay calm but intensely focused on working through their normal routines and processes. In this way we could keep the situation as objective and as close to BAU “business as usual” as possible. This would reduce the likelihood of the pressure of the situation getting to people and them making mistakes as they lost focus and succumbed to the adrenaline.
I’m pretty sure I didn’t use the “chill” word as to me this means relax and I wanted them calm not relaxed. But, how do other leaders communicate with their colleagues in stressful situations? I was interested to read an article in the Hong Kong based, Human Resources magazine where they asked a cross section of Asian HR leaders what they really meant when they instructed their team “to chill”.
Here are the responses:
When we encounter an issue, to take a step back and first seek a solution, rather than panicking around fearing the consequences. Jimmy Tan, vice president, head – performance, rewards and organisational design, Al Rajhi Bank Malaysia
When I tell colleagues to chill, it usually means we have everything under control. Even if there are obstacles along the way, we will surmount them regardless. This will only help them always be calm and steady in the face of adversity. Jose Raymond, managing director, SPIN
While I’ve never actually asked the team ‘to chill’, I probably have said ‘deep breaths’ before. In that case, whenever I have a situation where staff are panicking; I ask them to try and step back from the situation and think about what they have direct control over. Soren Beaulieu, publisher, Marketing Magazine Singapore
When I ask my team to chill, I mean not to get overly emotional and cloud rational/logical thinking. Or, the frustration we are facing is part and parcel of the job – so learn to manage it, be positive instead of having it spiral you down with negativity. Noah Lim, vice president, Schneider Electric
We do not want any unnecessary drama, let’s take a step back and get back to basics. We work as a team, and we will solve this as a team. Giulio D’Erme, CEO, Culinary On Singapore
I use ‘to chill’ when the stress of the team is climbing up. I want them to feel safe as it’s a vocabulary that I would use more between friends. As a leader, I want them to know that I am in control of the situation and that is time for me to take over the lead, and that we will be fine. Yoan Kamalski, co-founder, hmlet
Work and life are hard to balance at the best of times, so it is extra important that we enjoy down time when possible, especially as a team. Euan Wilmshurst, CEO and market leader, Burson-Marsteller, Singapore.
Get the facts before you start panicking! Aditi Sharma Kalra, regional editor, Human Resources magazine
Perhaps ‘Chill’ IS the new word within the leadership lexicon. What does it mean to you?
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