Leadership Under Pressure

Today’s leadership tip is about leadership under pressure and more specifically, how YOU react and respond to high pressure situations.

The important thing to know about acting under stress – is that you have a CHOICE… and the decision you make about how you respond in that moment can make a huge difference in the OUTCOME.

Cartoon: Man standing in the middle: React Impulsively < Choice > Respond Intentionally - Leading Edge Teams


Oftentimes, when the stakes are high and the pressure is intense, it doesn’t FEEL like we have a choice. That’s because we’re hard wired to react automatically. This is completely natural… but if you STAY in that place, things start to get pretty messy.

People get defensive, stop hearing one another, and eventually, communication breaks down altogether.

Unless… you take a step back.

In order to be a next-level leader, you have to find a way to step out of that emotionally driven space – and make choices that support your greater purpose.

This is especially important when the stakes are high.

And the best part is, when you free yourself from being reactive, you’ll be able to navigate these situations so much more effectively.

Everyone will feel better heard and understood… your ideas and point of view will be more easily accepted… and you’ll save a ton of time and energy (both in the time you spend communicating – and the energy it takes to clean up the emotional mess).

Take Action

So here are a few things you can do to make a stressful situation go more smoothly:

First, you have to recognize that you have a choice to make.

Second, you make a conscious choice to respond intentionally (and not just react).

Third, take a moment to consider your options.

Fourth, think about the bigger picture – and what you’re really going for.

Here are a few things you can try:

  • ask questions
  • honestly share your fears and concerns
  • ask for support
  • be willing to negotiate

One of the things that the leaders in our ‘A+' Leader Program hear me say again and again – is that:

”Accountability is easy when the situation is easy, it’s harder when the situation is hard…”

…and this is an important truth to keep in mind as you navigate these situations.


When you’re about to encounter a difficult person or situation – it’s even MORE important that you take a step back. And the benefits you’ll gain from responding intentionally will far outweigh the fleeting emotional release you’ll get when you react impulsively.

Being able to show up like this will have a tremendous effect on your life… and being able to demonstrate it as a leader, will earn you more respect, less push-back, and greater support to achieve your vision.

Now, get out there and lead!

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