Any captain can pilot a ship in calm seas with a light breeze. You can’t tell someone’s skill in easy, calm times.
For that matter, while you can learn the basics in easy, calm times, you can’t learn greatness in them. So while no one looks forward to difficult, stressful, white-water times, unless you expect easy breezes your whole career, you need them to become great.
The greatness of great leadership emerges in stressful times. These times reveal the skills you have and forge new ones.
Few can keep calm when you can’t see past the wave bearing down on you and winds are changing faster than anyone could adapt, but you can’t manage and lead a ship and its crew if you can’t manage and lead yourself. Every stressful situation is stressful in its own way, but they call on the same awareness and emotional skills to respond effectively.
If you can keep calm and lead well under stress, you learn to value these times. Because people don’t hire people to lead for the easy times they’ve enjoyed. They hire them for the challenges they’ve faced and used to improve themselves. In tough times, people follow those with the experience and skills to lead.
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