It was the day before the three partners were going to our lawyer’s office to finalize our partnership separation. It was up in the air about who was going to own the company at the end of the meeting. A few of my key leaders knew the situation and were understandably anxious.
At this point in the journey, I was at peace with whatever was going to happen. Two or three of my team were wide-eyed and kept asking me if I was OK and why I didn’t seem more worried. One even asked if I even cared. I did, but what is freaking out going to do?
I was calm.
Former Navy Seal, Rorke Denver, has a wonderful take on how emotions affect leadership.
“Calm is contagious,” He says.
His example is from a particular navy seal training exercise where the mission leaders were running around like chicken’s with their heads cut off trying to finish the assigned mission in the time allotted. Seeing the chaos, his Master Chief rounded up the leaders and gave them a simple message.
“If you lose your head, you’ll lose your head.”
For them quite literally. Out on the battlefield, if a soldier loses their cool, they are more likely to be injured, killed, and are much more dangerous to their own team.
“Calm is contagious.”
When you, as the leader, project calm and confidence in the face of whatever you are seeing, your team will emulate you. In fact, Rorke states “in a group of achievers, they turn the YOUR emotion UP in intensity.” Then it rolls downhill to all of your employees.
When you are calm, they are calm.
It actually works with all emotions. You are contagious when you project fear, anxiousness, anger, envy, resentment and freaking out. You can also project joy, trust, and calm. It’s OK to acknowledge the situation you are in. It’s not OK to put others at risk with emotions that make a situation worse.
What emotions are you choosing to infect your team with?
Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.