Sheesh what a week. So much anger and vitriol unleashed. Including a fair amount of mine. I’m blown away by the capacity for strategy many I work with have managed in the midst of so much screaming noise.
I’d love to say that I kept my cool all week. Not true. The fact that I had a virus and lost my voice and could barely whisper for four days is likely the only reason you didn’t hear me screaming at the TV at points.
But screaming at screens is a release but a pretty ineffective strategy to do anything about anything. And the louder the noise and screaming of others gets, the more tempting it is to join in. Sometimes that’s the right thing. But it should be by choice, not accident. So, what’s a leader to do? Here are a few of my ideas. I’d love to hear yours.
Tip 1. Breathe. Stop. Walk away if you can. And breathe. Deeply. Then decide. What do you want? Camaraderie? To change things today? To build for the long term? Then act. Find friends. Or plan for a reaction that moves in your direction. Or express your outrage or support in a productive way. Or decide to take a break.
Tip 2. Look for opportunities. If the answer to Tip one was to change things, what opportunities does the screaming present? Does it energize those who might not have been paying attention? Does it unearth non-traditional allies? Does it demonstrate a policy or advocacy point you’ve been trying to make?
Tip 3. Look for how this might shift your existing plans. Did your strategy take a giant step forward or backward? Did your work get drowned out and needs to be jump started? Are there new players?
When I start thinking about Tips 2 and 3, it helps me calm down and be both more analytic and creative. Otherwise, it’s too easy to waste energy in the fray. What works for you?