Avoiding the negative impact of the ‘crisis’ media narrative


Leadership is about setting the tone and managing the pace of adaptive work. 

Selling news is about grabbing attention. 

Our brains have evolved to keep us safe, so it makes sense that threats grab our attention. But allowing ourselves to be dragged into the near-constant doom and gloom narrative in the media at present will do nothing to set you and your people up for spotting opportunities and being adaptable at this time.

I’m not suggesting that you ‘deny reality’; merely that you recognise reality rather than media hype designed to attract viewers and eyes on article content.

Our daily experience of life and work is dependent upon the way we think and feel. We call this your state of mind. It may be buoyant, or it may be anxious. These variations are expected during the day and over time. Our state of mind affects our decision making, opportunity spotting, and so on. It’s a personal lens on the world around us.

Our state of mind also influences all of our interactions with others. Research also shows that your emotional state is contagious as a person in a position of power and authority. It affects those around you. That means it affects their work experience and their capability to deliver effective outcomes and good performance.

Coronavirus’s background threat, isolation of lockdowns, and now the media’s barrage about economic recession and depression is adding to a longer-term experience of lower states of mind.

Here are six immediate strategies that we pass on to clients to help them manage their state of mind in the short term. It helps them stay in an emotional state that allows them to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances – creatively and energetically. You might like to pass them on to friends and colleagues.

  1. Express gratitude for what you do have – make a list of three positives at the end of each day. 
  2. Build a daily routine that works for you – monitor it and continuously improve it to serve you.
  3. Practice a deep breathing technique. Here’s a link to one research based practice from a friend, Cory Muscara.
  4. Laugh! Add time for humour and fun into your day.
  5. Schedule and take regular breaks during your day – every 45 to 60 minutes.
  6. Newsfeed – regulate it! Take fewer, shorter intakes of news.

These are important times to be vigilant about the state of your thinking capability and that of your people. Life goes on and we will get through this period of challenge that is almost purpose made to help us adapt new ways of living and working that are more sustainable and sustaining in the future.