Donna's blog on coaching, leadership, and life

Composure—Maintaining your leadership cool.

I’ve been enjoying past episodes of Battlestar Gallactica, a television series that invites us into the politics and emotions of a working team aboard a futuristic battleship lost in space. The team on Gallactica is searching for the planet Earth—where the ship’s passengers (the last of the human population) believe they can settle and survive as a species.

One of the main characters, Admiral Adama, serves as the Ship’s leader, and has an amazing ability to demonstrate composure in the worst of situations. Watching his character in action has been a treat and reminds me of the importance of maintaining composure when leading others.

When I refer to composure as an attribute, I refer to our ability to:
maintain levelheadedness in volatile situations and times.
maintain enough distance in difficult situations or conflicts—without losing sight of the impact or importance of swift decisions.
be self-aware, so that when we feel our emotions rising to form or emote a reaction, we’re able to shift our vantage point to allow us to consider all available data and parties, and ultimately focus on the business outcomes.
demonstrate a cool and confident demeanor that helps to minimize anxiety in others.

The minute we lose our composure—when our emotions or reactive self takes over—we run the risk of demonstrating judgment, generating misinterpretations, or creating biases in ourselves and/or others, all of which will hinder our ability to most effectively orchestrate success.

Although maintaining composure is not always an easy task, the ability to do so in any situation, generates invaluable opportunities to have a significant and positive impact as a leader, coach, role model, and facilitator.


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