Most people are unprepared when a true catastrophe strikes. Whether Mother Nature or humankind is to blame, people often have to try to pick up the pieces and forge ahead. Leaders should step into the limelight during these situations and assist others in any way possible.
Catastrophe can strike on a large or small scale - it can affect millions or maybe only a few people. Massive storms, earthquakes, bombs and other weapons, sickness and disease. The list goes on and on, and humans must bind together and be innovative to face these problems. Leaders have a unique perspective to offer in times of calamity if they only have the drive and courage to step forth.
For many, some events can be triggering. Survivors may experience a fear response when something similar happens again. War, floods, fires, storms, crashes, and a hundred other catastrophic situations may trigger PTSD or post-traumatic
When military conflicts affect civilian populations, psychological complaints such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD are often seen. A recent study discussed how PTSD was positively correlated with physical symptoms. Neuroscience calls these somatization symptoms, or when a person is very anxious about physical symptoms they may have (like fatigue and pain.) Trauma exposure in war situation such as Kosovo and the Balkans contributed to high rates of PTSD and somatization symptoms (Morina, 2018).
FINDING THE DRIVE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
When something terrible happens hundreds or even thousands of miles away, it’s easy to read about it and shake your head in disbelief. How often do you actually take action? As a leader, you can positively influence your peers, your employees, your clients, and even your family members to help others in need.
No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.
You may protest and say you don’t have the time. You don’t have a spare second to worry about someone else with the big deadline coming up. When you feel like that, take a step back and reassess your priorities. Is the deadline important? Of course, but is it more important than taking ten minutes or even a few hours to impact someone in need positively?
Do you have the drive to adjust your life in a minor way to profoundly impact someone else’s? Using this drive to push innovation will improve how you lead, and how you interact with others. While no one expects you as a leader to ALWAYS put others first, imagine what kind of world we would live in if we at least consider others and help when something horrible occurs.
KNOWING WHAT TO DO WHEN DISASTER STRIKES
Leaders have a valuable skill set when disaster strikes. They often have a system of command already in place, and even though these chains of command are typically based in the business world, with a little innovation they can be adapted to counter catastrophic situations.
How to assist in catastrophes:
- Help, not hinder. Don’t automatically rush into a situation. There may be dangerous conditions that you are unprepared to deal with. You don’t want to put people at risk because of your ignorance. Slow down, take a deep breath, and then make a decision with a level head.
- Donate! If you can, donate. Donating blood, money and even your time are all valuable after a disaster. Depending on the situation and your proximity to the problem area, you may be able to donate your physical strength to help save people.
- If you donate money, find a reputable charity. Unfortunately, some people are always ready to take advantage of a bad situation. Avoid giving your hard-earned cash to charities that you haven’t vetted. Do some research and read up about the organisation before you write that check.
- Lead by example and inspire others. If an earthquake occurs on the other side of the world, we may not all be able to hop on a jet and help in person. However, you can organise a relief plan and work with local organisations that are traveling to the affected area. If you or your employees have a unique skill set that is needed, be gracious and allow time off.
A LEADERSHIP MODEL THAT ENCOURAGES DRIVE
There are many leadership models available on the market. New ideas and innovations are constantly needed to keep up with climate change, technology, and rapid globalisation. Drive gives you the fuel to face doubt, fear, and failure.
The can help you cultivate drive by teaching leaders how to develop resilience, determination, and optimism. The i4 Neuroleader can offer you insights on the impact of gut health on your brain, and how deficiencies can affect how you think and react to situations.
Catastrophes can happen to any of us, in the blink of an eye. Your entire world can change, forcing you to accept the unknown. However, with drive and innovation, you can lessen the load for others because someday it might be you who needs
a hand up.
Morina, N., Schnyder, U., Klaghofer, R., Müller, J., Martin-Soelch, C. (2018). Trauma exposure and the mediating role of posttraumatic stress on somatic symptoms in civilian war victims. BMC Psychiatry, 18, 92. http://doi.org/10.1186/s12888-018-1680-4