While it’s often easy for a senior Retail Executive to feel confident in their leadership role when their business is doing well, their mettle is only really tested when the company faces financial downturns, reorganisation and other stressful scenarios. Being able to act professionally and proactively under pressure is an essential trait of any leader, though many can still crumble when they’re faced with these difficult situations. Here are four universal rules that can help you withstand the pressures of leadership when they’re needed most.

Give your Ear to Those Who Tell It Like It Is

Surrounding yourself with yes men can feel good in the moment, but the ignorance they breed in an organisation will be toxic in the long run. While it’s important to listen to staff at every level of your business, be sure to give your ear to those at middle management who have a far-reaching view of a given problem, and who won’t sugar-coat the facts that will inform your decisions. It may feel even more stressful in the moment, but you’ll thank yourself for it later.

Act Fast

Though there’s no excuse for rash or reckless decisions, being decisive and taking action at a moment’s notice can inspire confidence at all levels of a given organisation. A consistent, proactive approach will bolster the integrity and trustworthiness of your leadership in the eyes of those following you, and fortify morale when it’s needed most.

Plan for Anxiety in the Team

When the future of a business is foggy, there are going to be plenty of people in the workforce who are stressed, scared, and frustrated. You may have an urge to close yourself off and throw yourself into whatever the most pressing task is, but it’s essential in these situations to communicate directly and confidently to all lower levels of the organisation and act as a calm role model. Addressing fears in this hands-on way can have a pervasive and positive effect on how your whole team acts under pressure.

Tolerate the Word “No”

Some executives won’t tolerate even a whiff of dissent, but the most effective business leaders are able to show empathy, consider the emotions of people on their team, and make themselves accessible in the eyes of anyone who needs to communicate with them. Living in a bubble is a sure-fire way to steer a business into a disaster, so make sure team members don’t become scared of criticising the way things are being done and offering alternative, effective solutions.