Our Spring Citywide is scheduled for Tuesday, April 2nd.


Leading through stressful situations

The notes below are from the July 23, 2015 Servant-Leader roundtable.  They are a result of a rich conversation among good people.  These conversations take place almost every Thursday morning in the Milwaukee area.  You can be a part of the roundtable tomorrow. 

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Roundtable notes:

We are always communicating.  We don’t have a choice in the matter.  As a result, we may not realize what information we are giving our staff when we are under stress.  When we are under stress: we may get impatient and take over a situation; we may take command and bark orders to others; we may express confidence in our team to resolved the problem; etc.  Each of these actions sends a clear message to those we lead.

  • We need the patience to build capacity in others.
  • In managing our own stress, we have to assess the situation and recognize what is a fire and what is an opportunity to build capacity as an organization.
  • We focus on the mechanics more often than the soft skills we need to cultivate an environment where information flows throughout the team, allowing the leader to anticipate potential problems before they occur.
  • As leaders, we define the urgency.  We don’t need to necessarily determine the situation is urgent.  We have the responsibility of reframing the situation.
  • The processing of the experience is the key learning.
  • The capacity building comes in the form of allowing others to make mistakes and then to reflect.
  • There are many ways to process high stress situations:  making the space to decompress is one way; wanting someone to listen is another way.
  • We have to explain the why of the debrief, what is the growth we are trying to generate in the group, the individuals, or ourselves.
  • Debriefing off site is a good way to change to a more neutral setting.
  • In a situation where danger has been a factor, it is a must to know what went wrong.  The key is to get to root causes not to create blame.
  • In extreme circumstances, it is necessary to create a highly structured process to get to the bottom of the situation.

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