How Being Calm Helps You Be a Better Leader
Every manager has his or her own personality and management style. Yet regardless of whether you’re a thoughtful, methodical person with a hands-off management style or a high-energy, hands-on manager, your people look to you to guide them towards your company’s goals on a daily basis. In order to do this, you need them to trust and follow you—and this is more likely to happen if you’re a calm, even-keeled leader.
Calm leaders inspire more trust and perform better
Employees want to know where they stand with their managers. Managers who are calm instead of impulsive, anxious or prone to anger are more likely to inspire trust or loyalty because their employees know where they stand with them. They know that no matter the issue, they can rely on their leaders to find a way forward without losing their cool. And that goes a long way to inspiring trust and loyalty.
Additionally, in the Los Angeles Times article titled “Staying calm under pressure tells a lot about a leader,” Joyce E.A. Russell reports that according to a study by TalentSmart, 90 percent of top performers demonstrated the ability to manage their emotions and stay calm during stressful times. This illustrates that in order to perform well under pressure, calmness is a prerequisite, as it allows you to think more clearly and choose your actions more carefully.
How to cultivate calmness
Of course, some people are naturally calmer than others. Fortunately, if you’re not naturally an even-keeled person, there are several things you can do to cultivate your ability to remain calm.
- Practice deep breathing. Deep breathing techniques can literally calm your so-called “fight or flight” response mechanism that can make you upset, anxious or angry. One easy exercise is to breathe in slowly through your nose, hold your breath for three seconds, then exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat this 10 times, and practice twice a day. You can also do this exercise to calm your nerves when you feel yourself becoming stressed.
- Consider all approaches before deciding on a course of action. Being confident helps you become calmer—and to be confident, you need to be sure you’re doing the right thing. As Lynda Moultry Belcher points out in her Chron article “How to Be a Calm-Assertive Leader,” it helps to think situations and decisions through very carefully and take a patient, methodical approach when taking action.
- Don’t be afraid to admit you’re in unchartered territory. In today’s rapidly changing business world, it’s not unusual to be faced with new challenges. If you find yourself at a loss, it’s okay to share with your team that you don’t have all the answers. It’s imperative, however, that you remain professional and cool-headed and assure your people that you’ll find a solution together.
Having the ability to remain calm under all circumstances is a powerful tool to have in your management toolbox. It will inspire your people to trust you more while at the same time improving your ability to make better decisions and think more clearly under pressure. And this will stand your management career in good stead.