The acquisition of coping skills happens when situations require us to adapt. A child learning to ride a bicycle discovers balance just as the bike begins to topple over. If the kid’s dad never let go of the seat permitting the bicycle to tip, his son or daughter would never know to compensate to the left when the bike falls to the right. This is the beauty of struggle – it forces the need for problem solving.
Most athletes and musicians know what it feels like to be “in the zone.” Strong business leaders find the zone, as well. The zone is the perfect blend of stress and performance that makes competency look effortless. This is a skill set that can be taught and practiced. It’s basic psychophysiology. Learn the early warning signs your body communicates under stress and employ any of a variety of relaxation techniques to reboot your focus.
Managing change effectively builds resiliency. While instinct may clamor to avoid change at all costs, saying goodbye to the old while saying hello to the new is a reliable problem-solving method. Everything cycles if you don’t waste energy getting and staying stuck. As quickly as you can finish trumpeting how awful a change is, get committed to the task of figuring out what to do about it.
Some teammates are born to keep their cool when the heat is on. They get a small head-start in the leadership race. The rest of us find a way to channel the people and events of our lives into a moment of clarity when our teammates aren’t sure what to do in a crisis. Were you born to lead with calm or will poise need to be learned?