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Wresting Opportnity From Adversity

Running your own business is intensely demanding and competitive. You are responsible for everything and when uncertainties arise, you must have the poise, acumen and patience to either minimize any negatives or wring opportunity from adversity (the lemonade-from-lemons ability).

If you lose your composure, your entire organization becomes susceptible to panic and weakens.

Your attitude, presence and even body language are things your employees will be watching and responding to. Yes, as the "head honcho" you are responsible for elevating performance and developing your people's talents, but you are also charged with making them feel safe and secure. No one performs well when they think the ship is sinking; employees will either "abandon ship" or waste time and effort on worrying about the loss of their jobs.

How you respond in times of crisis or stress will indicate your preparedness, maturity and ingenuity.

A modern business owner must be able to view adversity as opportunity. The leader with composure doesn't panic during difficult times, but calmly looks for avenues of opportunity within the adverse circumstances. He ferrets out the causes of adversity and upon discovery, moves to solve them at once. Like a marine, he will adapt, improvise and overcome by enabling and facilitating previously unseen opportunities (frequently ones that had they been recognized earlier could have adverted the adversity in the first place).

It is wise to realize that often crisis results when composure is absent.

When next a problem arises, ask yourself if a greater sense of composure on your part could have kept the problem from ever arising.
 
Here are some ways to maintain composure when crises, change, uncertainty or adversity arise:
 
Maintain emotional self control.
Never allow your emotions to become a distraction, keep them in check. Yelling, screaming, crying or other histrionics accomplish nothing positive, rather, emotional outbursts reflect a lack of objectivity and an inability to responsibly deal with a situation. That is not what you want to convey to your employees. Expressing concern and care is fine, but it must be coupled with composure.
 
Be positive.
You set the tone for your organization. Your employees will always be scrutinizing your actions, behavior and overall demeanor during times of uncertainty. They will look to you for behavioral cues. Positivity neutralizes chaos and allows you to navigate through "troubled waters". It is imperative that you maintain a positive mental attitude that keeps your subordinates hopeful and inspired. Stay strong, smile frequently, demonstrate a sense of compassion and keep moving forward. Focus on creating positive momentum towards solutions and the betterment of the organization.

Be fearless.
Projecting confidence instills it in others. During trying times you must remain fearless, projecting a cool persona that shows others you are composed and capable. When you become fearful of adverse situations, acting rationally and objectively are difficult and you become vulnerable. Panic causes the mind to freeze and lose focus. When fear sets in ask, what is the worst possible outcome? If you can be objective and summon the will and confidence to face it, the situation will become manageable and you will overcome it.

Be decisive.
Doubt destroys confidence, don't display it.  Carry yourself and speak with confidence, authority and conviction and you will maintain composure and convey a sense that everything is under your control.

Be accountable
Accountability means assuming responsibility and taking the action needed to solve the problem before the situation escalates out of control. Composure during crisis demands a full committment to resolving the issue at hand.   

Act like you've done it all before.
Acting like you've been through a situation previously is one of the best ways to maintain composure during difficulties. Demonstrate that you have familiarity with problem solving processes, be patient and listen actively. A great example of this can be had by recalling your own experiences with technical support representatives. When you're on the phone with them, with whatever glitch you've encountered, their job is to calm you down, make you feel that the challenge can be easily resolved and give you hope that the problem will soon be rectified. Recall how their demeanor soothed your frustrations and put you at ease; how they imparted in you a feeling of how they'd "seen it all before."

Composure is easily lost in times of crisis and adversity if you let concern become worry, and worry become fear. By maintaining your composure, you will remain cool, calm and in control. This will allow you to gain perspective, critically evaluate the situation and face the problem head on. It will also allow your employees to function optimally, without the crippling effects of panic.
 
Maintain, keep cool and move forward.
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