Articles

The New Firehose Leadership and How Not to Drown

(1:40 min read)

When pivoting, consoling, reflecting, instant strategizing, and rapid prototyping all happen in the first five minutes of your day.

Welcome to Firehouse Leadership with its new job responsibilities:

  • Lead in a time of uncertainty, with little or no information, high levels of risk and every-changing environments.
  • Ability to absorb and respond to unfamiliar consumer behaviors, erratic production capabilities and delivery systems that are in constant flux.
  • Responsible for the emotional needs, life experiences and mental well-being of company employees – as well as yours first (as you set the example).

Sign me up. Not.

Here’s the Deal.

Physiologically, we are not designed to withstand long term stresses such as ongoing adrenaline and cortisol release and its resulting sleep deprivation (Note: Among other issues); excessive and constant shallow breathing resulting in hyper vigilant nervous system state (see previous Note); and the morphing of brain wiring into long lasting neuropathway connections based on negativity and anxiety.

While we are acutely experiencing this physiological tsunami, behaviorally we are learning to respond from unconscious beliefs and though patterns that are routinely premised with ‘uh oh’ or the more efficacious, ‘oh sh*t.’  These acute situations become prolonged and prolonged becomes dangerous to our psyche and career.

A Harvard lecturer recently shared,” …increased uncertainty is making traditional career logic counterproductive.”  What a time to lead!

Here’s tips to turn off the firehose effect and reclaim healthy daily performance:

Leadership now requires your full mind and body (which are ONE) to be taken care of first.

Self-care is the new superpower.  Prioritize your mental health with coaching or counseling.  Replace self-help books (a billion dollar industry) with connection, guidance and real time exercises with a professional that personalizes and guides based on your needs and not a template ‘for success.’  You are not a template and your support experience shouldn’t be one either.

Pushing through and adrenaline jazzed behavior is ‘out.’ The Pause is ‘in!’

The ability to learn to physically break from a situation allows your body to rest and reset.  Pausing is one of the most valuable mental and physical tools you can use in your day.  The Pause can be small actions.  Deep diaphragmatic breathing several times.  Walking in and out of a room.  Eyes closed visualization of how you want a situation to unfold.  An affirmation that guides your unconscious to prove your statement, ‘I got this!’

Kick stress to the curb.

Quick mental tools like Mel Robbins’ 5 second countdown, performing simple math in your head (kindergarten style) and diaphragmatic breathing (which can make you dizzy if you don’t routinely practice this) can steal stress’ grip from your brain and body.

Wishing you the best of everything in turning disruption into opportunity.  You have all you need in you.  Just take care of it.

Brigit Hassig is CEO of Unstoppable Exec, a firm powering up executive and team member mental strength and well-being through coaching, advising and consulting.