Leading under pressure or stress is a challenging task that requires a unique set of skills and mindset. It is the ability to maintain control and effectively guide a team or organization in a high-stress, high-stakes situation.
It is important for leaders to have strategies in place to manage stress, such as taking time off, practicing self-care, and seeking support when needed.
5 benefits of people that can lead under pressure
Effective decision-making: A leader who can lead under pressure is able to quickly assess a situation, gather information, and make informed decisions in a timely manner. This can help to minimize the impact of a crisis or unexpected challenge on the organization.
Strong communication skills: Being able to work under stress means you have the ability to communicate effectively with team members and other stakeholders, which helps to keep everyone informed and on the same page.
Problem-solving abilities: A leader who can lead under pressure is able to think creatively and come up with solutions to unexpected challenges, which can help the organization to navigate difficult situations.
Resilience: A person who can lead under pressure is able to bounce back from setbacks and keep pushing forward, which can help the organization to weather the storm and emerge stronger.
Inspiration to others: A leader who stays calm under pressure can serve as an inspiration to others, showing them that it is possible to remain calm and composed in difficult situations. This can help to build a culture of resilience and determination within the organization.
What are the dangers of working under pressure?
If you can handle a lot of pressure, you have developed strategies to cope with stress. However, working under stress for a long period of time, can become dangerous for a number of reasons.
Stress can have a negative impact on both physical and mental health, and can lead to a range of health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and depression (see: Stress and Health: A Review of Psychobiological Processes)
Physical health: Prolonged stress can lead to a number of physical health problems, such as cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal disorders, and a weakened immune system, which can increase the risk of infections and illnesses.
Mental health: Prolonged stress can lead to mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, and burnout. These conditions can make it difficult to function effectively and provide high-quality care to patients.
Cognitive function: Stress can affect cognitive function, which can lead to difficulties in decision-making, memory, and concentration, which can be dangerous for a person who needs to make quick and accurate decisions.
Burnout: Prolonged stress can lead to burnout, which is characterized by emotional exhaustion, cynicism, and a reduced sense of personal accomplishment. Burnout can make a person less effective, and can lead to higher rates of errors, accidents and dissatisfaction with the job.
Increased risk of accidents and mistakes: Stress can affect cognitive function and reaction times, which can increase the risk of accidents or mistakes. This is particularly dangerous in a setting, where even a small mistake can have serious consequences.
If you are working under a lot of stress and experiencing one or more of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor.
a Practical survival guide for leaders under pressure
There are several things you can do to stay calm under pressure:
- Develop a crisis management plan: Having a plan in place for how to respond to a crisis can help to minimize the negative impact on your organization and keep you calm under pressure. A crisis management plan includes several key steps, such as:
Identification: Identifying a potential crisis and assessing the likelihood and potential impact of the event.
Planning: Developing a plan for how to respond to the crisis, including identifying key personnel, resources, and communication strategies.
Implementation: Putting the plan into action, including activating emergency response teams and communicating with stakeholders.
Evaluation: Evaluating the effectiveness of the response and identifying areas for improvement.
- Stay informed: Stay informed about what’s happening in your industry and organization, so you can quickly identify and respond to potential crises.
- Build a strong team: Surround yourself with a team of capable and dedicated professionals who can help you navigate challenging situations.
- Practice self-care: Make sure to take care of yourself by eating well, getting enough sleep, and engaging in activities that you enjoy. This will help you to stay focused and energized, even in high-pressure situations.
- Communicate effectively: Keep your team informed and involve them in decision making. Clear and effective communication can help to keep everyone on the same page and reduce feelings of stress and uncertainty.
- Prioritize: Prioritize your tasks and focus on what is most important in a high-pressure situation. This will help you to stay focused and avoid feeling overwhelmed.
- Seek out mentorship: Finding a mentor who has experience leading under pressure can be a valuable resource. They can provide guidance, advice, and support as you learn to lead in stressful situations.
- Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness techniques such as meditation or mindfulness-based stress reduction can help to reduce stress and improve overall well-being.
What are characteristics of leaders that are able to work under pressure?
Leading under pressure refers to the ability to maintain control and effectively guide a team or organization in a high-stress, high-stakes situation. It requires a leader to be able to think clearly, make quick decisions, and communicate effectively, all while remaining composed and maintaining a positive attitude.
Some characteristics of a leader who is able to lead under pressure include:
- Emotional intelligence: The ability to understand and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others, is crucial for leading under pressure.
- Resilience: The ability to bounce back from setbacks and keep pushing forward is crucial for leading under pressure.
- Clear communication: The ability to clearly and effectively communicate with team members and other stakeholders is essential for leading under pressure.
- Problem-solving skills: The ability to think creatively and come up with solutions to unexpected challenges is crucial for leading under pressure.
- Flexibility: The ability to adapt to changing circumstances and think on one’s feet is crucial for leading under pressure.
- Inspiration: The ability to inspire and motivate others to overcome challenges and achieve their goals is crucial for leading under pressure.
- Prioritization: The ability to prioritize tasks and focus on what is most important in a high-pressure situation is crucial for leading under pressure.
leading under pressure
In conclusion, leading under pressure is a challenging task that requires a unique set of skills and mindset. It is the ability to maintain control and effectively guide a team or organization in a high-stress, high-stakes situation.
While leading under pressure can be beneficial in certain situations, it is not sustainable in the long term. It is important for leaders to have strategies in place to manage stress, such as taking time off, practicing self-care, and seeking support when needed.
Additionally, leaders should have a crisis management plan in place. This will not only help them stay calm under pressure, but also inspire confidence in their team and stakeholders, and minimize the negative impact of stress on the organization.
Leading under pressure is an important management skill. If you’d like a full overview of leadership skills, read A Guide To Effective Leadership Skills – Mastering The Fundamentals
“Composed: The Heart and Science of Leading Under Pressure” by Rob McKenna. This book is a roadmap for standing firmly in who we are while staying connected to those who matter most to us—especially when high pressure moments come.
The Stress Effect: Why Smart Leaders Make Dumb Decisions–And What to Do About It by Henry L. Thompson The writer argues that stress is often the real culprit behind leadership failure. He offers a solid prescription for building a “stress resilient system” and arms leaders with best practices for managing specific stressors that take the biggest toll on decision-making.
Perform Under Pressure by Ceri Evans. This book might radically change the way you think about pressure