Leading Under Pressure

“Courage is grace under pressure.”

– Ernest Hemingway

No matter the walk of life, all leaders eventually find themselves in high-pressure situations. The ability to perform well in these situations can be a daunting task that is difficult to get a handle on; but being able to thrive in a high-pressure environment can be crucial to your development as a leader. The fact of the matter is, high pressure circumstances are often unavoidable, so it is best to develop skills that increase your ability to succeed in these situations.

The strange thing about leading under pressure is that many times the actions or duties required are not extraordinarily foreign or difficult when compared your typical responsibilities. That is the trouble with leading under pressure: the general know-how is there, but other mounting outside stressors and confusions cause you to second guess yourself and sometimes fail to meet expectations. It is important to first understand these emotions as completely normal, and an added difficulty of leading a group of people.

One effective way to combat this feeling of second guessing is to not think so internally when it comes to making decisions. Oftentimes, leaders will let their emotions or stress of past mistakes cloud their judgement; but attempting to see things as objective and being future-focused in your decision making can ultimately relive some of the pressure you may feel on a personal level.

When situations begin to feel too high pressured, try to reframe the circumstances and view the problem from a new perspective. Doing this not only allows you to see a more diverse, clearer set of solutions, but also lets you see some of the mistakes you were making in the original framing of the problem. Reflecting in this way better prepares you for future high-pressure situations and sharpens your skillset to ward off unnecessary stress.

Even with the most proactive efforts, pressure can still take a toll on any given environment. Sometimes the problem will not be resolved as smoothly as one would like but understanding every stressful situation as a valid method to practice combating future, similar situations can help with the process. Having a developing mindset when it comes to approaching pressure ensures that your ability to perform well in high pressure environments will only improve.

Kelly D. Scott
Chairman/CEO
The world’s leading business advisory and executive coaching organization

Finding Success in Brand New Environments

“Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”

– John Wooden

Whether it is circumstances out of your control or a somewhat calculated business move, many times leaders find themselves in a position where they feel they have little or no experience in a certain area of responsibility. But finding success in an area you do not immediately feel prepared for is not impossible. In understanding the universal skills, you may possess and developing a winning mindset, great leaders can easily thrive in a brand-new environment.

Every situation, in this regard, has its own unique set of circumstances, but the key to excelling in new environments is building up certain attributes that are effective even as circumstances change. One of these skills is in the development of skills themselves, meaning successful leaders are those who are constantly looking to add and enhance their skills in a myriad of ways. It is important to always be learning. Books, webinars, and mentorships are all tools vital in refining whatever skills you feel best suited for your working style. Being forever proactive in that regard is what separates adaptable leaders from poor leaders.

Perhaps the most useful and necessary attribute of adaptable leaders is strong interpersonal skills. All new situations breed unique circumstances but typically they all share at least some sort of person to person communication responsibility. Effective leadership nearly always includes the ability to manage tensions and deal with a wide variety of egos. One of the best ways to sharpen these interpersonal skills is by reflecting on past experiences and recognizing mistakes while also noting different outcomes. By seeing interpersonal situations from multiple perspectives, strong leaders are able to make more informed and effective decisions when problems arise.

Sometimes there is no controlling unexpected situations thrown at you as a leader. Great leaders understand this fact and develop the tools that best prepare them for unforeseen circumstances. Being a proactive learner and having strong interpersonal skills can better prepare you for nearly every environment you find yourself thrust into. Finding success in these new environments sets apart good leaders from great ones.

Kelly D. Scott
Chairman/CEO
The world’s leading business advisory and executive coaching organization