Because Humans are the Key Concern. Always


You’re a leader, and you’ve just had a catastrophe. The economy has blown up. The plant has blown up. Your life has blown up. What do you do? Here are the three most common responses from leaders whose existence has gone boom at some stage. And a fourth one, where humans are the key concern.

The freeze and freak-out response

Yes, an extra f word in there (and it is not fight)… Some leaders are like the proverbial deer in the headlights. In Australia, it is like driving down that outback country road at sunset and a large kangaroo is sitting in the middle of the road and hasn’t got a clue that the lump of metal coming towards is it not a light of truth, but a kangaroo killing machine. But it freezes anyway, not knowing what to do. There is a fear response too, especially as the car gets closer… But it still can’t move, it is frozen in place.

Its stress response keeps it glued to the spot. To its determinant, usually. For humans, when the boom is too much, we don’t know which way to turn, and what action to take. So, we do what the kangaroo does.

Until someone drags them into a meeting, or needs their support, or needs something else from them… Basically they freeze, until a human shows up, and the human is a reason to get into action.

If they can pull themselves out of the freeze or freak-out response, they take the lead, and step into the boom situation, and work through it. With the help of others. And to help others. Because humans are the key concern. Always.

The fight and fend-off response

Yes, another extra f word in there (and it is not flight)… Some leaders get aggressive at the first sign of pressure. They go on the attack. As well as getting aggressive, they can tend to get abrupt and abusive.

They act like what Australians call a bungarra lizard (a 2m long prehistoric sand lizard). If you have ever lived in the bush, you get warned about bungarras. Never corner a bungarra, is the warning. Because, if you do, they only know one way, and that is to run straight up and over you. And they need their sharp claws to climb, and apparently (so the warning goes – not sure how true it is, but I don’t want to try) they climb well. And fast. Straight up your body.

A bit like what some leaders do, under pressure.

Until someone has the courage to call them on their behaviour, and gets them to check themselves, and their response to the boom. When the leader understands that the humans around them are feeling the pressure too, and that they need to be supported and cared for, they start to create a safe space, and become more compassionate and empathetic. Because humans are the key concern. Always.

The flight and !@#k-off response

Yes, another extra f word in there (and it is a bit naughty – but every book I pick up these days has it on the cover, so it must be ok)… Some leaders become invisible when the pressure is on.

They seem to disappear into the night and re-appear when the boom is over, or the work is done. A good strategy for their own self-preservation, not great for their team, who need them more in those moments, than most others.

These leaders are a little bit like the Australian wild horses. Who can sleep standing up. This is an evolutionary thing (and like a human flight response), a horse can go from sleeping to galloping in no time flat. Evolutionarily, the horses that could flight (or f-off quickly) survived longer than horses that slept lying down, who were easy prey for carnivores. That strategy is a winner for wild horses, not great for leaders.

Until someone calls the leader on their aloofness and asks for support or help. Leaders flight-off, and for whatever reason, think that is ok. I can remember as a young tradesperson, being alone on a job at night, at the end of shift, with no leadership around, not having a clue what I was doing. It was the leaders that stayed and help, that I respected the most. Those leaders stayed back, because humans are the key concern. Always.

The Care and Connect Response (or as psychologists term it, tend and befriend)

To care and connect is to be a good leader. And a good human. When things go boom, you can’t do it all on your own. You don’t have all the answers. You don’t need to. You have a team that know more than you (collectively) in relation to the correct response. They just need to be listened to and heard.

During a boom event, care factor is the most important element of any leader response.

Leaders who demonstrate care factor, keep their emotions in check. They take charge of the situation, and they make sure that their teams have a safe place to work from. They create what is called ‘psychological safety’, and they create a safe place for others to step up and be part of the response effort. And then they thank those people for their efforts. Because humans are the key concern. Always.

And, of course, our coaching helps you to care and connect, not fight, fright, or freeze.

And please click the image below if you’d like to chat about what leadership means to you.

If you would like to learn more about Anton or The Guinea Group, please click hereto book into Anton’s calendar, to:

UPGRADE your Mindset
UPSKILL your Leadership
UPLIFT your Teams

About Anton

Anton has dedicated his working life to helping leaders to upgrade their mindset, upskill their leadership, and uplift their teams! With a focus on helps leaders to better lead under pressure. Anton is an entrepreneur, speaker, consultant, bestselling author and founder of The Guinea Group. Over the past 19 years, Anton has worked with over 175+ global organisations, he has inspired workplace leadership, safety, and cultural change. He’s achieved this by combining his corporate expertise, education (Bachelor of HR and Psychology), and infectious energy levels.
Work With Anton!

Subscribe to our Newsletter