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FROM: Leadership in Dangerous Situations : A Handbook for the Armed Forces, Emergency Services, and First Responders. Edited by Patrick J. Sweeney, Michael D. Matthews, and Paul B. Lester (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2011).
Leaders, particularly those who lead in dangerous contexts, are a powerful force in managing and alleviating the effects of stress. This chapter discusses how to leverage that force, describing stress management practices above and beyond the stalwarts of individual fitness, sleep, and good health habits. Theory along with the context of real world cases are presented to make leaders aware of the nature and effects of the decisions to be made while preparing for or leading in dangerous situations and how to assess and respond to critical incidents. The main lesson is that leaders must know their people, know the crucible in which they operate, establish a culture of catharsis, and know that they are a principle source of resilience.