When businesses face high-pressure situations, some leaders thrive while others crash and burn. These four points explore some of the flaws that can emerge in leadership when placed under pressure, and the steps to take to navigate the process efficiently and successfully.
1. Be driven by purpose rather than pressure
Although external sources of pressure may seem to dominate, focusing too much on them can lead to you always feeling like you’re trying to catch up. Instead, let purpose guide your approach. Focus on all the proactive measures you can be taking that will not only help with the high-pressure situation but are aligned to your overall vision too. Leaders who are purpose-driven can identify challenges and pre-empt responses ahead of time.
2. Balance courage and caution
One of the easiest responses for leaders in times of pressure and crisis is to become reckless, acting without the careful caution that is required. A careful balance is the best way to navigate these tricky times. A demonstration of courage is a great way to fill your business with a positive attitude that will help get things done. However, it is also necessary to balance this courage with caution. Be vigilant towards potential warning signs, speed bumps and losses, track each change as it occurs and pre-empts potential threats and their consequences. Your courage will provide yourself and others with comfort and help build confidence. Confidence will help carry your business to the front of the pack instead of falling behind due to pessimistic attitudes.
3. Manage expectations
High-pressure situations and less than perfect environments can often cause leaders to have unrealistic high expectations from others. This may place unnecessary challenges and unhealthy stress on the shoulders of workers and lead to long-term problems in the workplace. Despite the stress you may feel for the business to perform well in a high-pressure situation, it is important to manage your expectations from others. Calmly action strategies that can realistically be achieved and allow employees to work to their best abilities – you may be surprised with how efficiently things are achieved.
It is also common during these times for leaders to place unrealistic expectations on themselves. This will lead to stress and task overload that will be echoed throughout the business, often leading to some of the most inefficient business practices. Every once in a while, evaluate the expectations you are placing on yourself and others and identify the challenges this may lead to. Make the necessary preparations to equip you and your business properly for stressful situations.
3. Build on yourself and your leadership
As a corporate business leader, it is to be expected that you will encounter a range of high-pressure situations that will require different skills and leadership styles from you. Not every situation will benefit from the same focuses and methods, each situation is a chance for you to evolve your leadership and build upon it. Instead of spending the majority of time in your own head during a pressure situation, spend more time reading your audience, clients and employees for clues on how to go ahead with the situation. Pressure often requires a combination of internal strength, emotional maturity and advanced skills to deal with the situation appropriately. Allow these situations to build upon your capacity to act positively and level-headed in spite of high-pressure scenarios. This will have a calming effect on the employees you lead, enabling them to perform their best.