“Leading Through Storms: Best Practices from Successful Leaders to Handle Adverse Scenarios”

Have you heard of the Athenian religious festival of Eleusinian mysteries?  The Greater Eleusinian Mysteries were a set of rites celebrated around 650 BC, surrounded by a major multi-day festival, which shows numerous ties to the tale of Demeter, the Greek goddess of Nature and Harvest. Persephone is her daughter who loves Nature. The mother-daughter love is so thick, and they are always together. 

It is the story of abduction, adventure, and adversity. 

Hades, the Greek god of the underworld, saw the beautiful and kind Persephone, abducted her, and asked her to be his wife. She was not willing to do that. He gave her a pomegranate to eat; she ate 6 seeds. 

Demeter was so distraught by the separation of her daughter, which led to the earth going infertile. She reached out to Zeus, the king of Gods. Looking at the earth’s plight, Zeus asked Hades to release Persephone. Hades said he would release her if she hadn’t eaten anything in the underworld. They all agreed that Persephone would stay in the underworld for six months for each seed she had eaten. 

Yes, this abduction embarked on the infertile period of the earth. However, amidst her distraught state, Demeter never gave up on the hope of being reunited with her daughter. The story goes with the message that the changes in Demetry’s mood and state are the reasons for us having seasons, the inevitable cycle of decay and renewal as emblematized by the cycle of the seasons.

So, what is the connection with Adversity?  

The adverse scenario Demeter faces is so powerful and comes with many lessons for us. Even though she went through the distraught cycle, she never lost hope. 

What led Demeter to keep up with the hope?

Why did Pluto give the daughter back to the mother?

Accepting the adverse scenario led to keeping up with Hope for Demetry. Accepting adverse scenarios brings hope, and so does the solution. 

Adversity – The Hard cheese

As Heraclitus said, “The only constant thing is the change. “

Adversity is a state of change that is uncalled for. It involves wretchedness, misfortune, or hardship. There are many types of adverse situations that we may face in life. At a professional forefront, economic downturns, technological failures, mergers and acquisitions, market disruptions, and crisis management are unwarranted crises.

Facing such adversities is an integral part of leadership, and how a leader handles these situations can significantly impact the success and resilience of the organization.  The journey to successfully overcome the challenge starts with accepting the current scenario.

“Never has man reached his destination by persistence in deviation from the straight path.”

               — Mahatma Gandhi

As per the survey conducted for the Harvard Business Review magazine with more than 1000 companies across 53 countries, the sad truth is that 70-90 percent of the time, people avoid adversity. People will manage adversity about 10-30 percent of the time, and rarely (five percent) do people and their enterprises genuinely harness it.

Acceptance – The Mindset Shift

The first step to winning over any adverse situation is acceptance. Accepting adversity is a continuous process that requires practice and self-awareness. It’s about developing the mental and emotional tools to face challenges with resilience and a positive mindset, ultimately turning adversity into an opportunity for growth and development.

Accepting adversity is a crucial life skill and leadership trait that will help to build a resilient organization. Here are a few pointers that ease the way forward to face the trail. 

  1. Face it head-on: The first step of acknowledging the situation makes it half-solved. Denial or avoidance can only lead to penetrating deeper into problems.
  2. Be factual: Get the data right. Sometimes, making decisions with understanding the background of the situation will make it better. Study the root cause of the problem and determine the potential options and resources you have in your control to make things better.
  3. Plan a course: Planning is the spearhead of all the actions. Chalk out all the plans, including goals, strategies, and timelines required to remove the obstacles and help you shine again.
  4. Stay focussed: Executing the plan with utmost discipline and ethics will lead to early success. Persistence is the key to proving our worth.
  5. Look back and reflect: Crossing a hurdle does not mean the adversity will not strike again. Reflect on your decisions and correct the actions taken to avoid such situations in the future.

“Adversity causes some men to break and some to break records “— William Arthur Ward.

AQ eventually improves our EQ, making us high-performing leaders, giving greater strength and diversity, and, in turn, creating more effective leaders for the future.

What are your thoughts?

While inner strength, attitude, and mindset are central to controlling the adverse situation, the same can be aced with help. Contact me:suba@slnbrandstudio.com.