With the UK gradually returning to a more normal way of life following the pandemic and businesses getting back into their stride, it seems a good time to take a closer look at corporate leadership styles under pressure. In this blog post, we will put under the metaphorical microscope the behaviour that leaders tend to adopt when they are really under serious pressure – be that from an unprecedented global pandemic, or a more everyday sort of turbulent business scenario.
The challenge of leadership
For leaders at the highest level of the corporate world – CEO’s, HR directors and the like – the challenges of leadership are, quite clearly, on another scale altogether to those of just leading a team. The pressure that comes with the role is, of course, correspondingly scaled up, as are the consequences of any bad decisions that get made in the heat of the moment. Being able to identify your leadership style and any negative tendencies that you have is crucial to steering your company safely through any storm.
Manage, don’t micromanage
One of the most common mistakes seen at senior level is the tendency to excessively micromanage. The very confidence that brings leaders successfully to the top of their field is often paired with a reluctance to let others take charge of a situation and have responsibility. Throughout a fast-moving crisis, with new developments unfolding fast, one person cannot handle everything, regardless of the strength of their desire to do so.
With multiple fires to be put out at once, and conflagrations frequently reigniting, the leader who can look at the big picture and let his or her subordinates manage themselves and their teams is the leader who will be most effective.
Attack the problem, not your own company
A stressful situation will inevitably produce the fight or flight response in humans, whether that’s in the jungle or the boardroom. That natural tendency to attack a problem can be a wonderful thing for a leader. However, excessive aggression displayed towards your staff and manifested throughout your company can be absolutely fatal.
It is crucial to maintain self-awareness and to temper your behaviour, channelling any aggression in a controlled and productive manner. Venting frustration on employees leads to resentment and often engenders an aggressive response from them in turn, thereby creating disharmony, poor decision making and wasted energy all round.