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Dear Leaders: Keep Calm and Manage Disruption!

Caroline Hardy
Manager meditating to keep calm and manage disruption

Henry Mintzberg recently offered important advice to leaders navigating the current crisis. The Professor of Management at McGill University and world leader in Management Sciences suggested that they "Stay Cool".

Many leaders are likely to have a strong initial reaction to this advice. What is yours? Do you currently feel euphoric, balanced, reactive, proactive, cooperative, competitive, constructive, destroyed, overwhelmed, in action mode, reflective, COOL? I doubt it.

More interestingly, how would you like to feel? What does your business need? The company? Society? Your family?

In recent months, to manage change, many of us have had to make difficult, quick, and individual decisions without being able to consult our loved ones. The urgency of the crisis required it.

In my executive coaching practice, I have observed a diversity of behaviors by leaders recently. Of course, this diversity of positive or mostly negative behaviors has had a major impact on their teams and colleagues. It affected their confidence in themselves and the organization, their ability to participate in crisis management, their medium-long-term professional intentions and their creativity, which is so important right now. Leaders have a great responsibility and influence over the quality of life of the people around them.

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Staying cool, as Henry Mintzberg proposes, allows for several things. Here are some significant impacts of this advice, as observed in recent months by Proaction International's team of executive coaches:

  1. Take a step back from the situation and reposition yourself strategically;
  2. Reflect on the strengths of the people who work with us – in order to empower them;
  3. Set up multidisciplinary teams that can propel innovative mandates and projects;
  4. Make decisions at the heart of the collective well-being.

Finally, is it easy to remain calm in this time of crisis, chaos, and profound upheaval of all that we know? For the average bear, of course not! Do you absolutely have to be a yogi or do more than 25 hours of meditation a week? Although this can help greatly (according to several studies that we will talk about in a future article), there are other ways to achieve this..

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Getting there alone, with a partner or as a group

Based on our experiences and results, we’ve found that conversation, dialog and sharing during individual or group coaching sessions appear to be methods that have a great impact. Verbalizing, reflecting on concrete actions – or even less concrete actions – is both reassuring and strategic for the leaders and their executive committee. This way, staying calm with 2 or more people is easier.

In the coming days, let’s all give ourselves the chance to stay cool. This will go a long way in generating wonderful projects for the future of organizations and a healthy society. Just remember: staying cool is not synonymous with doing nothing – quite the contrary.

Day-to-day application of good management practices

For more advice and support, Proaction International's leadership development specialists are here to help.

Caroline Hardy

Caroline Hardy

Programs Director - Executive Coaching and Development