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Poise under Pressure

Hey everyone, I came across an article written by Harvey Mackey in the Huntsville Times business section that discussed a simple five-question test developed by psychologist Donald A. Laird to measure a person's leadership potential.  Do you measure up?  What about your potential managers?   Well let's see:

a.   Can you take a reprimand without blowing up?
b.   Can you take a turndown without becoming discouraged?
c.   Can you laugh with others when the joke is on you?
d.   Can you keep your spirits up when things go wrong?
e.   Can you keep cool in emergencies?

If your answer is yes to all five questions, you�re on your way to being a leader.Dr. Laird, However, singled out one great quality of a leader - Poise.

"Poise is what makes you a master of situations," Dr. Laird said.  "Although we call some persons natural-born leaders, usually the poise of leadership is a trait that has to be developed, and anyone can develop poise a little bit at a time."

The way to develop poise, he says, is to destroy its enemies - nervousness, anger and the habit of speaking before thinking.

It's easy to show poise when everything is going well.  It's a lot tougher to maintain your poise when things are not going well.  But the minute you lose your composure, the chances of defeat increase.  You are giving the mental edge to your opponent.

If you maintain your composure, good things can happen.  Focus on what you can do or control.  Don't focus on the past.  Yes, the past should be a reference point for what not to do in the future.  Learn from the past.

President Ronald Reagan said: "I have learned that one of the most important rules in politics is poise - which means looking like an owl after you have behaved like a jackass."

There's a story that circulates in the sales profession about a sales rep who was ready to demonstrate his company's state-of-the-art computer software to a group of important customers, when the screen went blurry and finally crashed.  His efforts to re-establish a link to the office systems failed.  He called tech support and every number he had available, but without luck.

Unfazed, he turned to his customers and said, "This has been a demonstration of our competitor's product.  Next week, I'll show you what ours can do."

Now that's poise under pressure.

Your value and potential for success increase when you are able to keep your poise under pressure.

I am consistently trying to share the message of learning what to do if things go wrong.  Why?  Because you and I both know that things do go wrong.  It is a part of life.  So to the extent possible why not prepare for the possibility.

So, whatever you are going through right now. Maintain Your Poise :)

Disclaimer: Information provided is based on our experience, training, and judgment in interpreting the practical application and intent of official guidance and regulations.  It does not represent the official position of any government agency or their representative.