How do Leaders Handle Adversity?

By |Published On: February 7, 2012|

We talk a lot about leadership and good or even great leaders in this blog.

I have been thinking a lot about how leaders handle adversity recently. A few recent occurrences have led me to these thoughts.

First, last night was the Super Bowl. There are always winners and losers in sporting events. On a big stage like the Super Bowl, these winners and losers often seem larger than life. Last night the big winner was the New York Giants and their quarterback – Eli Manning. They may have faced adversity much of the season – I think they are the team with the most losses to ever win the Super Bowl. But last night, they overcame any and all adversity and won the biggest game on the biggest stage.

The New England Patriots on the other hand were the losers. A few years ago they seemed like they might be the best football team of all time. They had won multiple Super Bowls. They were led by their defensive minded coach and their confident quarterback, Tom Brady. In fact, many football experts were saying Tom Brady would go down as the greatest quarterback of all time because of the way he led his team through adversity to victory. It seemed the Patriots always believed they would win because that was the confidence Tom Brady, their leader, gave them.

Last night, and the last time the Patriots played in the Super Bowl against the Giants, Tom Brady couldn’t overcome the adversity, he couldn’t lead his team to victory. I certainly wasn’t in the huddle with the team. But I am guessing Mr. Brady is calm, cool and collected in the huddle, even when the game is on the line.

I am guessing, his blood pressure doesn’t spike, his voice doesn’t crack, his volume doesn’t increase (except maybe to overcome the noise made by ravenous football fans). I think the confidence he exudes to his teammates is one of the reasons the Patriots come up on top so often.

As leaders, we sometimes face other kinds of adversity than the adversity a football team faces. Last night, my three year old son was bitten in the face by a dog belonging to our good friends.

We were (and are) very concerned about our son. It would have been easy to yell, scream and cry when this happened. I certainly felt all those emotions.

But as the leader of my family, I needed to be the anchor, the true north. I needed all my children and my wife to see that I was confident everything would be okay – even if at times I wasn’t so sure.

In business we face challenges every day. Our employees face these same challenges and need to be confident that our companies will overcome the challenges we face and succeed.  As leaders it is our job to make sure our employees have that confidence.  It is our job to lead our employees to victory even when they think it is unattainable.

How do you present a calming influence over your employees during stressful times?

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