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Management and Leadership in Nonprofits

Management and Leadership in Nonprofits


Panicking Is Not a Leadership Option

Mar 19, 2020
By: Tammy T. Jelinek
Panicking Is Not a Leadership Option

When a challenge (or even a crisis) arrives our first human instinct may be to panic. Our reptilian brain kicks in and it is fight, flight, or freeze. As a leader, it’s critical that we do not give into that instinct for several reasons:

  • Your team is not only watching what you do to handle the situation, they are watching how you react
  • Thinking, reasoning, decisioning, etc. is all done better with a clear mind, and not with blood ringing in your ears (a sign of panic)
  • As a leader, challenges will be an everyday occurrence (sometimes every minute or hour too) and you need mechanisms to keep your personal stress at a minimum for your own health
  • Often you have the skills, knowledge, ability and drive within your team to handle any challenge – you just need to remember that fact through the panic, and so does your team

Remember that how you do something is often “louder” than what you do. If you are urgent but calm in processing information, asking questions, reviewing data, and making decisions your team will follow suit. If you panic and have jumbled thoughts and actions, yell or get loud and mad, make hasty decisions without consideration of others – your team will too.

Understand your triggers. Take a deep breath. Pause. And then work with your team to find a solution.

If you have suggestions that you find helpful regarding how to keep panic decisions at bay, please share.

Wishing you a great day and remember: Lead with legacy – 

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Tammy T. Jelinek, MBA
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