Leadership During Times of Extreme Fear

Jeff Altman
3 min readMar 20, 2022

By Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

In business, it is common to live with fear.

Can I meet my key performance indicators

Will I meet or exceed my sales quotas?

Can we meet our coding goals to deliver the project early so we can look like heroes to our users?

Will marketing allow us/me to be seen as a leader with campaigns that rain revenue?

Will we be able to receive what we need for manufacturing to deliver to our customers?

These are ordinary fears that cause what we think of as “normal stress” that, with time may percolate into burnout.

However, in times of extreme change, such as sudden inflation, international conflict, whether real or threatened, or domestic unrest, it is common for staff and leaders alike to experience extreme shocks with cortisol spikes, weight gain, substance abuse and relationship issues at home and work. Everyone begins asking questions in a desire to seek the certainty that is not available. What can we do when there is no playbook for what to do?

1. Meet with your trusted advisers and/or coach regularly. You need people you trust to seek counsel from. Don’t go it alone.

2. Focus on your people. You have a responsibility to keep them informed promptly of decisions you are considering. Ask for their advice, too.

3. Listen and think. Leaders think they became leaders because of their action. It is their discernment and their ability to inspire confidence that got them to that seat.

4. Notice what others have done and are doing. What worked? What didn’t?

5. Make a decision on a course of action.

6. Correct course

This is your moment to take the wheel of the ship and steer during a hurricane. It will be an amazing ride as you and everyone holds on during tumultuous seas and gale force headwinds.

Everyone will be watching the captain. Everyone will be yelling what you should be doing. That is their fear talking, demanding you do what they tell you.

Give them the reason to follow you. They will.

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Jeff Altman

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter. Career Coach. Host of No BS Job Search Advice Radio & JobSearchTV.com. Join JobSearch.Community. It will help you