At times like these, leaders’ ability to keep their cool and display grace under pressure is severely tested. Yet it couldn’t be more important in helping to lead your teams through and inspire them to help create the future of your organization.

Unfortunately, composure in leadership is uncommon. In new research of over 39,000 surveys, we found that composure ranked last of the 15 qualities of executive presence. In this article, published in Fall issue of Rotman Management Magazine, Suzanne Bates and Andy Atkins share the research findings on composure in leaders, and provide strategies for leaders to buck the trend and keep their composure even in the most stressful of circumstances.

Losing your cool is not a weakness. It is a sign that you are human. Deep emotions are part of life’s struggle. Successful people hold themselves to high standards. Sometimes, we fail. It is important to look at these feelings not as failure, but an opportunity to mature and display even more grace under pressure without sacrificing our mental and emotional health. Composure is a cultivated skill, nurtured in part through self-care, and in part through new learned behaviors. We are not born knowing how to do this. We learn it through experience and practice.

(This article appears in Rotman Management Fall 2020.)

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