When In Doubt, Panic!

(picture originally uploaded to Flickr by Isaac Z. Schlueter)

I just read this great post by Seth Godin. He starts off by saying,

If you don’t know what to do, and you’re frightened, might as well panic.

He goes on to point out that there is an expectancy by many people for leaders to panic if things don’t seem to be going correctly. Panicking about a situation that seems to be going sour has become a sign that the leader cares or is, at least, aware that things are going wrong.

The one thing that stood out to me was this:

Apparently, panicking is an acceptable substitute for forethought, contingency planning or actually taking productive action.

I’ve posted before about my strenghts as defined by Strengths Finder. My top strength is adaptability. Here is a definition of adaptability:

People who are especially talented in the Adaptability theme perefer to “go with the flow.” They tend to be “now” people who take things as they come and discover the future one day at a time.

Another thing that came up in my assessment that said people may see my adaptability as a sign of me not being organized or not caring or being unaware. It suggested that I make sure people know that my lack of panicky-ness is due to productive flexibility rather than an “I don’t care” attitude.

It’s easy to panic. It takes creativity and organization and strength to keep one’s head. It’s also easy to assume that a leader who is not panicking in the face of crisis or unexpected situations or impending deadlines is out of touch. It’s harder to trust.

What do you do in stressful situations? How do you stay calm and not panic?

How do you respond when a leader isn’t panicking in the midst of chaos and pressure?

(picture originally uploaded to Flickr by Jim Linwood)


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