How to Be a Leader Under Pressure

How to Be a Leader Under Pressure

Beyond the ability to delegate tasks and inspire others to work hard, an effective leader can cope and thrive under pressure. Stressful situations are unavoidable in any line of work and leaders are the most likely to take the heat. These circumstances are when effective leadership is most necessary to get the wheels turning because employees are most likely to look for motivation. Assuming the leadership role means that you need to come prepped and padded for all the curve balls that may be thrown at you.

If you’re a leader, learning how to cruise through challenging times is a necessary part of the job. Because not everyone is born into a leader’s shoes, here are some tips that you can follow in order to lead effectively under pressure.

Stay calm

Keeping your cool is how you maintain credibility as a leader. People admire others who don’t crack under pressure and it inspires them to be the same. While some studies claim the ability to keep calm is in one’s blood, Slate reports that genetics is not the only requisite for composure. Military personnel go through the most stressful conditions, yet not all start out level-headed. Drills and training that mimic the conditions of war prepare soldiers until keeping calm becomes their very nature, which means that it only takes practice. Services like Topsarge’s executive coaching and training helps leaders in any industry develop the skills necessary to navigate pressure-filled situations so that they may be able to to be better managers in any setting. Staying calm doesn’t happen in an instant but the ability to control your emotions can be developed with persistence.

constant communication increases your reliability


Many teams fall into dysfunction because they don’t keep their communication lines open. As a leader, you have to be aware of what’s going on by checking in with your team members regularly. Inc claims that constant communication increases your reliability as a part of the group and others will respect you for it. Maintain transparency with your team but also be receptive to collaborative effort. Forbes notes that a conducive workplace is one where other perspectives are recognized because it enables other areas of exploration that might be able to guide a group through tension.

Maintain realistic optimism

Maintain realistic optimism

Part of your job will be to manage the workplace atmosphere in order to maintain productivity. This means keeping your employees’ anxieties to a minimum by spreading positivity around without being overly optimistic. Alice van Harten of Menlo Coaching emphasizes candor as a vital quality in a leader with integrity. Sometimes you have to be frank in telling your employees that they’re doing something wrong and offer up constructive criticism. Yes, you have to be hopeful but you also have to be realistic.

CNBC shares psychologist Heidi Grant Halvorson’s observation that realistic optimists believe that they will achieve success even though it might not be immediate. This motivates them to create strategic plans and put them into effect. If you succeed in setting the tone of realistic optimism as their leader, it will reflect in the effort of your employees.

Pressure is inevitable, especially in leadership. But over time and through mastering these tips with practice, you’ll be able to cope with stress and use pressure to your advantage.

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