Wisdom From Books

2 qualities of leaders; How leaders perform in crisis!

Posted on: September 22, 2010

Leadership is art of dealing with issues, challenges and various situations. (In previous post, we noted that instead of using the word ‘problem’, successful people use the words: situation, challenge or opportunity).

In a research conducted at Stanford University, researchers examined the annual performance appraisals of hundreds of presidents and chief executive officers of Fortune 1000 companies i.e. those who are considered as the most successful executives in every business or industry.

The experts looked at what had been written about the executives from the time they started work, searching for the common characteristics of top people. This study revealed that top executives had two dominant qualities in common. The first was the ability to

function well as a member of a team.

Top leaders, when they started their work or career, were all good team players. They made valuable contributions to the teams they were on. As they were promoted to more senior positions, they demonstrated an ability to bring together winning teams of talented people and organize them to accomplish important goals and results for their companies.

The second, and most important, quality that top leaders had in common was the ability to function well in a crisis.

Top people in every field had demonstrated throughout their careers that they were able to deal effectively with the inevitable crisis when it came along.

The researchers discovered something else: teamwork could be taught in seminars and workshops. But the ability to function well in a crisis was not teachable.

A leader did not learn to deal with crises in a workshop or seminar or by role-playing with other people in an imaginary problem situation.

The ability to deal with a crisis could be learned and demonstrated only in a real crisis, an unpredictable and unexpected reversal or setback that had the potential to cause major damage of some kind. During such a crisis, the true leader would emerge to save the situation and resolve the problem.

Performance of leaders in crisis:

Brain Tracy, a person who has worked with hundreds of leaders / executives and thousands of companies mentioned that: One quality that they all seemed to demonstrate was their ability to remain calm and cool when faced with a major reversal or setback. When they were confronted with a problem or crisis, they seemed to be able to turn on a switch in their minds that enabled them to become calm and completely in control. They immediately took charge of their emotions and the situation.

Brain Tracy states that the top people he dealt with never became angry or upset. They did not become excited or irritated. In fact, they seemed to go to the opposite extreme. They slowed down and became more polite and courteous. They said “Please” and “Thank you.” They asked questions and gathered information before reacting or responding.

So, let us also try to remain calm, cool and avoid anger. Let’s all try to become team players.

Above are thoughts from Brian Tracy from his book: Flight Plan. Your thoughts?



3 Responses to "2 qualities of leaders; How leaders perform in crisis!"

Remaining calm n controlling your emotions is one of the main teaching of Army. An army man are taught to control their emotions, in symbolic terms crises time is a time of battle were an army man has to consolidate all his weapons and learning to get success..

If one bird from the flock leave behind all the team adjust their flock but never leave that bird behind, skill to learn from birds.

thanks for sharing such inspiring thoughts

best regards

I think that the ability to remain calm in a crisis situation cannot be acquired till one masters ones emotions in ordinary day to day situations.

People who are short tempered and get angry easily also have a severe impact on their ability to analyze and think rationally.

Leaders are made not born.

I always listen from different people about Pakistan’s crisis. They sometime look hopeless. But I am strong believer that such situations ALSO bring a chance for a person to emerge as a national leader. That’s why sometime it is said that “leaders are made, not born.”

Same is true in personal life. We need a leader at every home. Everybody must strive to become a leader for his/her own folks.

Challenges are like ‘incubator’ that allow or encourage us to become a leader – a leader for home, for organization, for society, for nation and for the world.

Let’s welcome the challenges!

Javed Iqbal
Educator | Empowerer | Entrepreneur
Lahore, Pakistan

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