Hardy Executives Handle Adversity With Aplomb, Rise To Challenges

By Sonja Carberry,

Stress doesn’t have to cause distress. How resilient pros face calamity with confidence:

Stand tall. When a crisis hits a business, the events are often out of your control. But a leader’s reaction can be mastered.

“Hold on to that, even if the world is cascading down around you,” said Martha Johnson, co-author with Harry Hutson of “Navigating an Organizational Crisis.”

Speak clearly. In tough times, employees look up for guidance. “A leader needs to make sense of things as quickly as possible,” Hutson told IBD.

When 2005’s Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, power firm Entergy (ETR) had to react fast.

Rod West, executive vice president, told evacuated workers how bad the damage was in clear terms: “The city is underwater. So for most of you, everything you left at home is destroyed.”

Clarity is essential.

“There was no time for happy talk,” Hutson said. “One of the first things leaders have to do is tell the truth.”