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Manage Yourself Before You Manage Others
What’s your trigger in times of change and crisis?
In the world of leadership, you can go into a situation in which you are prepared with a plan, but invariably something will change. How you manage yourself in these unpredictable situations is as important as the new plan you develop. John Van Vleck believes that staying calm and managing your own emotional and behavioral state is critical to those around you who are looking to you for leadership, change management and what to do next.
John is founder of The Green Room Collective, which works with organizations to help bring human-centered values to organizational culture, team building and creative ideation. Formerly a global brand manager for Sprite and the director of insights, ideas and creativity for The Coca-Cola Company, John excels in creative problem-solving and managing change—and it all begins with self-management.
There is a time on every project that I've ever done around innovation and creative problem-solving, where I think the whole thing is like a train going off a cliff. Then somehow through leadership, through the process, the tools and techniques and the right behaviors everything rights itself and you get to your destination. But, during that moment where everything looks uneasy and you're not quite sure where it's going, you've got to manage yourself before you manage others, because others will pick up on cues and the signals that you're sending them and will respond accordingly, either pro or con.
When there is a crisis one of the best things that you can do and if you're not sure what to do, is to simply call a time out. Take a moment to gather yourself, confer with your partner, confer with the people you're working with, and then form a plan of action. It's easy to think that as the person in front that you have to have all the answers. Sometimes the best thing you can do is to simply say, "I don't know. Let's take a break. Let's give it some time. Let's think about it." And allow yourself time to think about something else, and your subconscious will pick it up, and it will work on it. Very often when you come back to it, it's like, lo and behold there is the answer.
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