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  • Writer's pictureTilo Schwarz

Rising Leadership in the Face of Crisis

Dear fellow Leaders and Coaches,

as we are facing new and unknown challenges all over the globe our partners, families, teams, and communities need us to be Leaders and Coaches more than ever.

I fully admit it took me a while to pick myself up and I feel that acknowledging our anxiety in the face of uncertainty and change is a good first step. Now let's go to work.

Here are five steps I have taken for myself:

1) Calm Your Mind

Being a helpful and kind leader begins with us.

My morning routine of meditating and yoga has always been and is very helpful, particularly now. If you don't have a morning routine I encourage you to pick one. Start small and do it every morning.

In case you need one here are three steps to start with:

  • When getting up say the following sentence aloud: "I will make this a great day."

  • After you get up, drink a glass of water.

  • Close your eyes and do three rounds of box breathing. (*see instructions below)

  • Think of three things you are thankful for.

2) Be Focused

With the situation changing every day, even hourly we understand that we have to be adaptive. However, leading amidst the chaos needs adaptiveness AND focus.

I use the "BIG 3x3" approach to stay focused.

Ask yourself: What are the three most important goals you need to achieve this week, your BIG 3, personally, privately, and business-wise. Write them down. Then look them up every morning and write down your top 3 tasks for the day to get closer to your BIG 3. That makes your daily set of BIG 3x3.

As a Leader or Coach do this:

  • Define a set of "Team BIG 3" for the week with your team. What do we want to achieve as a team this week?

  • Encourage each team member to do their personal BIG 3x3.

3) List the People to Contact Regularly

Make a list of the people that need your help and encouragement. Define your process for contacting them on a regular basis.

If you work by your calendar create reoccurring appointments.

4) Establish short, frequent interactions

Adaptiveness is based on going by experiment and getting quick feedback. Also, when working remotely long, all-hands telcos are a waste of time.

As a Leader or Coach do this:

  • Have a very short all-hands, if possible in the morning, to understand interdependencies and who needs help. Refrain from problem-solving in the all-hands. Instead, follow up on it later.

  • Establish short, frequent one on one interactions. Every day or more, if needed. Relate to the BIG 3, get feedback on the current condition and new findings and coach.

5) Smile lots

Anxiety hardens people's faces. Counteract by smiling. Give people a warm and kind smile. It works miracles.

Share this post with your partner, families, friends, and colleagues. They will appreciate that you care about them.

Let me know your thoughts and experiences. We are in this together.

Yours with a smile :-),



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The Box Breathing Method

Box breathing is a simple technique that a person can do anywhere, including at a work desk or in a cafe. Before starting, people should sit with their back supported in a comfortable chair and their feet on the floor.

  1. Close your eyes. Breathe in through your nose while counting to four slowly. Feel the air enter your lungs.

  2. Hold your breath inside while counting slowly to four. Try not to clamp your mouth or nose shut. Simply avoid inhaling or exhaling for 4 seconds.

  3. Begin to slowly exhale for 4 seconds.

  4. Repeat steps 1 to 3 at least three times. Ideally, repeat the three steps for 4 minutes, or until calm returns.


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