Leading Under Pressure in the Workplace

To become an effective leader, there are several core capabilities you should have – ranging from the ability to influence and inspire others to knowing how to act decisively . While these traits are important in your daily role as a leader, they are especially critical in times of stress.

For organisational leaders there is always pressure; to get things done on time, to do things differently, to ensure things are done in a particular way, accommodate and/or deal with demands, ensure stability and growth, and the list goes on. So it is important for every leader in an organisation to learn to deal with pressure and excel under pressure.

Data collected by Positive From Leaders found 55% of leaders experienced high or extreme levels of stress. And in those leaders who reported high or extreme stress, their productivity was reduced by 12%. In addition researchers indicate that leaders who excel under pressure face the same level of stress that are usually found among top athletes and elite military units – emphasising the importance of understanding how to manage and implement strategies that are beneficial to both you and the organisation.

Approaches for Leading Under Pressure

Leading under pressure emphasises the importance of pausing and gathering information before making a critical decision or taking action. As a leader it is natural to feel the urge to react quickly, especially in high-pressure situations where time seems limited, and stakes are high. Research shows it’s common for leaders to react poorly in high-stress situations. Specifically, 53% become more closed-minded and controlling during times of crisis, instead of open and curious. A further 43% become more angry and heated.

Making well-informed decisions is crucial when facing pressure. Leaders should use the time to gather as much relevant information as possible. This may involve consulting team members, subject matter experts, or reliable sources to gain a comprehensive understanding of the situation. By waiting momentarily, leaders afford themselves the opportunity to analyse different courses of action thoroughly. Weighing the pros and cons, considering potential consequences, and evaluating risks can lead to more effective decision-making. In a crisis, it’s important to take a deep breath and remain as calm as possible – especially as the stakes rise or as circumstantial turbulence accelerates – before responding in order to move forward with an actionable plan and to avoid creating mass panic.

Communicating effectively is a fundamental skill for any leader, enabling them to convey their vision, expectations, and strategies clearly to their team. Effective communication involves not only the ability to articulate ideas concisely but also active listening to understand the perspectives and concerns of others. A skilled leader ensures that information is shared transparently, fostering an environment of trust and open dialogue.

During high-pressure situations, effective communication becomes even more critical as leaders navigate their teams through uncertainty and adversity. Clear and timely communication helps instil confidence and maintain focus amidst the chaos. Leaders must convey a sense of direction, transparency sharing information about the challenges ahead and the strategies to overcome them. Through communicating effectively during times of pressure, leaders can keep the team united and focused on the collective goal, ensuring resilience, adaptability, and ultimately, success in overcoming the challenges at hand.

Seeking support and fostering collaboration are essential leadership approaches, especially when navigating through challenging and high-pressure situations. Recognising that no leader possesses all the answers, seeking support from mentors, colleagues, or subject matter experts can provide valuable insights and guidance. Engaging with others outside the immediate team allows leaders to gain a fresh perspective and consider alternative solutions to complex problems.

In high-pressure situations, collaboration provides a support system , helping to distribute the workload and alleviate the burden on individual leaders. When faced with complex challenges, leaders can delegate tasks to those best equipped to handle them, playing to each team member’s strengths. In turn, members feel valued and recognised for their expertise, leading to higher job satisfaction and a more cohesive team dynamic.

Leaders who can effectively hold crucial conversations outperform their peers. As an organisation collects a critical mass of these effective managers, it has a profound effect on successful execution of initiatives, financial agility, and overall performance.

How Wellity Can Support You

During our insightful session ‘Learning Your Leadership Style: Understanding and Adapting’, participants will embark on a journey to explore diverse leadership styles, gaining a profound understanding of their individual approach and honing the art of adaptability to different team dynamics and situations. The session fosters a comprehensive grasp of leadership strengths and weaknesses, empowering individuals to respond adeptly to various challenges they may encounter as leaders.

Objectives:

  • Identify and assess personal leadership style , with an emphasis on recognising inherent strength and addressing areas for improvement.
  • Develop effective strategies to adapt leadership style based on team dynamics, specific tasks, and the preferences of team members.
  • Enhance leadership versatility to confidently handle diverse challenges and lead effectively in various contexts.
  • Cultivate a collaborative and inclusive work environment by appreciating and respecting different leadership approaches within the team.

For any information on this training title or others we offer, contact our team at hello@wellityglobal.com.

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