Leading through turmoil

“The way we think about how to handle a crisis is outdated,” says McKinsey senior partner Aaron De Smet to Roberta Fusaro, McKinsey executive editor and host of The McKinsey Podcast. He learned this lesson the hard way. Over ten years ago, De Smet faced a crisis at home: his wife was battling a severe addiction, and his two daughters were badly traumatized. His initial response—“to tackle problems head-on, to fix, to control”—was not helpful. To show up as the husband and father his family needed, “I had to learn to truly change some pretty fundamental things about myself.” Deliberate Calm, the book he co-wrote inspired by this intense period of self-reflection, introduces a crucial leadership practice for the modern era: the ability to calmly stake stock of a crisis situation, overcome an initial kneejerk response, and recognize whether—or not—to use moves from an established crisis playbook. Listen to the episode here, and check out other recent episodes from The McKinsey Podcast below.

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