The power of calm communications lies in its ability to create peace out of disruption so tribes are able to thrive.
COVID-19 has been a time of massive disruption for teams and leaders. But as we’re coming out the other side, rather than finding a return to business as usual, leaders are finding that their teams are going through a second wave of disruption.
We’re working on figuring out how to get people ready to go back to work in the new environment. But no one knows what going back looks like. And many workers may find themselves working from home more or less permanently as experts predict that normal employment patterns won’t reappear anytime soon.
Like any time of disruption, this uncertainty leaves people feeling fearful, frustrated and confused. As leaders, we need to listen and respond to concerns that arise from these uncertain times – but we must be able to do it calmly. Exhibiting calmness creates a sense of safety, comfort and trust and is essential to the success of our teams. And calm communication is how we extend this to the people we are responsible for.
But how do we develop the power of calm communications?
The Power of Calm Communications
At 12 weeks old, our bulldog Winston is a typical puppy. He lives to chew his toys, go out for walks and eat, eat, eat. But sometimes he struggles to calm down enough to rest. Instead he just gets more manic and out of control. He’s lost and he simply can’t control himself.
When I see that happening, I know that he’s tired. So, I pick him up, give him belly rubs and sing to him. Pretty soon it sends him off to sleep.
Why am I telling you about singing to my dog? Because this is essentially how you need to communicate with your teams. The power of calm is its ability to help people who feel lost settle enough to listen to the advice and guidance that you’re providing.
One Out of Three Leaders Buckle Under Pressure
Research shows that one out of three managers buckle under pressure. And when they lose their calm, it hurts both their ability to influence and the success of their teams. In fact, respondents in the study said that when their leader clams up or blows up under pressure, they have lower morale, are more likely to miss deadlines and quality standards are lowered. Even more, they often act in ways that drive customers away.
But leaders that are calm, collected, candid, curious, direct and willing to listen during crucial moments, increase morale and drive their teams to more success and satisfaction.
The Benefits of Calm
Marcus Aurelius said, ‘The nearer a man comes to a calm mind, the closer he is to strength’. Nearly 2,000 years later, and that statement is just as true today. Research shows that calmness allows for creativity and idea generation. It allows people to focus on the tasks at hand, rather than being pulled in different directions by their emotions. And it allows our teams to thrive.
Embracing Calm Communications with Your People
During times of disruption our teams need to hear from us. When we see that they are feeling lost, that they are perhaps spending more and more energy focusing on the wrong things, we need to learn how to calm them right down. Just as I sang to Winston, we need to communicate with our teams in a way that shows them that we are calm, that we are consistent and that they can trust and rely on us to remain so.
Communicating with your teams with consistent calmness reinforces to them that this is a safe space for them to work. Then they are able to do their jobs, and do them well.
As leaders, how do we avoid buying into the chaos?
- Think about your own energy. Ask yourself, ‘How am I communicating?’ You must be calm yourself in order to provide that power of calm to your teams.
- Consider your goal. Ask yourself, ‘What is my positive intention?’ Once you know what the goal is, you know how to work towards that.