Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Leadership when people are scared II

We have covered some of the physiological effects of being scared. These in turn create change in the heart and the mind. The heart sends signals to the brain affecting the way it operates. We get to a situation where we can't think straight and we soon have the sensation of this. Thought becomes difficult, in fact all we can often to is concentrate of the feelings, which makes the situation worse. Basically our cognitions become flooded and overwhelmed. There is a very good reason for this. Danger produces a fight or flight response, which is fine when there is an immediate physical danger present that we either need to get away from or confront quickly and overpower. However as our lives are a tad more complex than when these responses were required our system doesn't have a way of easily distinguishing between fear from immediate physical danger and the danger of loosing our jobs, or the perceived danger of new and uncertain situations. Our minds and bodies therefore react the way they were programmed; for the more binary threats that existed when the programming was set.
Anyway the issue is that because many people react to uncertainty in this way the important point here is that in this state people are in an emotional space not a cognitive one, so simply resorting to 'reason' and 'logic' is unlikely to work at least in the first instance. Next some smart (and not so smart) things you can do as a leader of scared people

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