Pressure comes as standard as part of any leadership role and can be both a negative and positive force when driving behaviour. An effective corporate business leader will know how to delegate and be able to communicate competently when under pressure. However, when under pressure, behaviour can be impacted and you may struggle to effectively evaluate and therefore communicate with the individuals you have delegated to complete essential tasks.

Pressure and brain chemistry

Research has shown that when under pressure, there are chemicals that are released by the brain. Evidence from the research is based on behavioural changes displayed during the completion of tasks when under pressure. By knowing how your behaviour could change, you can moderate your speech and body language to use pressure to your advantage.

Speech

Speech and tone can be affected by pressure and the consequent release of ‘stress’ chemicals.

Try to speak a little slower, remaining aware of your pitch and tone. Notice if you start speaking faster, louder or at a higher pitch and take a breath. When expectations are not met, do not look to blame someone. Instead, be positive, explain your goal is to find out how to solve problems that may or have arisen to enable everyone to get the best result from their efforts.

Communicate simple facts to avoid emotions such as anger and disappointment taking control. Focus on the individual elements of the task or goal and what exactly was missed or not completed as expected. Use the facts to remain neutral and objective and you will notice it is easier to stay calm and communicate ways to encourage problem-solving.

Body language

Body language is very influential in a leadership role. CEOs, directors and other individuals in high-level leadership positions will need to partake in business meetings and live video, where body language can directly influence the result. Research has shown that individuals that stand or sit in are more able to control the release of the stress hormone, cortisol.

When you know you will be under pressure, practise what you need to say and observe your body language in the mirror. We all instinctively respond on a subconscious level to non-verbal communication. Knowing how pressure can cause you to become unaware of your body language means you can gain control. Combining the correct speech and body language will ensure you are able to retain the influence and authority essential to be an effective leader.