Do you ever find yourself having one of those weeks where everyone around you requires your immediate attention at the same time for something? If you’re a mother then I know you know what I am talking about. You go thru the minutes trying your best to juggle and address things one at a time. You know that even after the thing you are working on is addressed that there are a few more teed up ready to go. There seems to be no break or moment to breathe. Everyone thinks his or her “thing” is a crisis; it is the most important and demands your immediate attention.
I experienced this last week and couldn’t wait for the end of Friday to come. It got to the point where I was asking is someone was hurt, bleeding or going to die if their “thing” didn’t get done right this minute. That was the level of frenzy and stress people were putting people under. It wasn’t until I put things into extreme perspective that people seemed to simmer down.
When the environment around you is frenzied, stressed and running on adrenaline overload, I have learned that no amount of caffeine can keep up or solve the issue. Trust me, in my younger days I tried. Triaging, putting things in perspective and breathing is the best response. Taking a moment to breathe is critical. It’s hard to stay level headed and keep perspective when you feel you’re up against a wall and everything is swirling out of control around you. It is so easy to get swept up in the noise and lose sight of what is truly important. That is when it is critical to take a moment and just breathe.
There are some environments where this amplified level of anxiety; stress and frenzy are appropriate such as in an emergency situation or working in an emergency room when multiple traumas are coming in. Even then, in those moments the people who are responding have to take a moment to breathe in order to address the situation appropriately right in front on them.
In an office environment, I find this type of behavior ludicrous. Too often, I have seen it become the norm. The people who cause it are often driving to a personal agenda, outcome or making a political play. Their vision becomes focused and narrowed and they lose sight of the bigger picture and what’s really important. The destruction left in its wake isn’t acknowledged, noticed or recognized.
As a leader, it is imperative to take a breath, be observant and aware of what is happening around them. Sometimes, it is the precise moment when you need to deescalate, step up and tell others to stop or back off as they are causing harm. Allowing the continuing push and drive forward can lead to consequences that they may not even see coming.
When you are being a leader and find yourself in a situation like this, it is important to be able to take a step back, take a moment to breathe and be an observer. Then you can be the leader and react appropriately.