(originally published May, 2015)

Forbes.com recently published an article called “5 Ways To Transform Yourself Into A Leader” in which it suggested that leaders need emotional fitness.  How true.

We look up to our leaders for all types of inspiration and guidance – especially during the tough times.  We need our leaders to be strong in times of chaos, the ups and downs of business and with general day-to-day stress.  If a leader panics, everyone else will.

Leaders who panic will send signals right throughout the organization and their teams will soon be in panic mode as well. Says Frobes.com “Leaders tap into an inner Buddha, an unwavering stillness that empowers them to take a deep breath and keep moving forward.”

I like that.  “Take a deep breath and keep moving forward”.  We may face lost deals, lost customers, lost production time due to equipment failure, accidents, personal tragedies and more.  They all require a steady hand, a steady heart and a calm approach throughout.

Finding that level of emotional fitness cannot be easy.  I think it requires a deep down belief that nothing that happens will ultimately end the world.  Sounds funny, but sometimes I think that as long as I have my health, my family and my friends, I will be alright.  As long as I can say that, I can give it my very best effort and do everything I can, to the best of my ability, then I will be alright.

It is easy for me to remain calm if I think that I will be fine in the end.  But what about everyone else? If the panic could very well lead to unemployment for many, then it must be hard to show calmness before the end.

But even in extreme cases like this, calm must prevail.  A leader is not going to get high marks for panicking as the ship goes down.  He/she will get marks for compassion, understanding and never leaving the ship in its worst time.

Emotional Fitness.  Calm, cool and collected at the best and worst of times.

Are you emotionally fit?

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