In Times of Crises, Manage Your Emotions First

When tough times hit, future uncertainty generates great anxiety. We’re left with countless questions about how to get through this, and even forced to make critical, potentially life-altering decisions. 

You may have to act quickly and decisively – even in the face of uncertainty. You’re nervous. You don’t want to make the wrong decisions, which often carry substantial impact. 

These crises can put you in a state of what feels like constant chaos. There is so much going on in your head, so many directions you could go, you feel like you’re everywhere all at once. Sometimes you feel like your hair’s on fire and you just need the chaos to stop in order for your thoughts and actions to come together with clarity.

The overwhelming stress of the situation and inability to control what happens, or the outcome, can feel paralytic when you can’t yet see an obvious way through it.

Emotions Run High

In these situations, emotions run high. Customers are calling and complaining. Employees are idle or simply spinning their wheels inefficiently. It’s times like these when people tend to start pointing fingers and looking for scapegoats.

Just thinking about experiences like this from your own life causes your body to tense up.

Because of the uncertainty, pressure, fear, and heightened sensitivity that emerge during these challenges, it’s easy to react from a place of pure emotion, which could lead to trouble. You tend to not be your most rational self when emotions are high. Your primitive amygdala brain kicks in with an automatic response to protect you, launching an amygdala hijack, a response intended to sense danger and generate an impulse reaction to keep you from harm. 

But that may not be the best response.

Emotion during times of challenge and stress is not all bad. It can help keep you from becoming complacent. You need high emotion to create the necessary adrenaline to make a move.

The key is to recognize the emotion and stress building up, and, instead of responding immediately, process what is driving that emotion. ​Ask yourself: Where does that emotion show up, how does it show up, and how does emotion manifest itself in my leadership practice?

With self-awareness of your emotions, over time you can become more skilled at working through them.

Learn to Harness Your Resilience

The ability to harness resilience during adversity produces a more thoughtful response and capacity to overcome crises and even show the way to growth potential.