Under pressure? Even though it's hard, keep your cool.
It’s hard to be a leader.
In times of pressure (which seems to be all the time, lately) it’s even harder. Yet, these are the times that employees need leaders to step up the most. In times of conflict, change, perhaps even chaos, employees need to feel their leaders have it in control and have a strategy to deal with it.
Isn’t that just great (she says sarcastically)? Most of us in leadership positions are playing it by ear. Sure, some people leaders have set out goals and objectives, have crafted well-thought-out strategies and contingency plans for when those strategies go off the rails. Some are innately suited to being people leaders and seem to have an unwavering instinct of how to deal with people issues as they arise. But most of us don’t.
Most people leaders have been promoted into their role after years of being an individual contributor. They were great at the technical job and were given manager roles as a reward. Few, however, were provided with any training after assuming the role. They were expected to just know what to do. But most don’t.
According to Gallup, only 1 in 10 people leaders has the natural aptitude for the role. This means that 90% of the leaders out there don’t comprehend what they should do to connect with their reports. The results of this lack of connection are being felt throughout the business community, in pretty much every sector—including the trades.
Managers face challenges from upper management, customers, employees, market conditions, suppliers, etc. and struggle to work their way through. Times of stress and pressure shine a spotlight on managers—particularly how well they can handle it.
Here are some ideas of what to do, and what not to do, when leading through challenging times.
Finally, become an effective leader. Do a real, honest, bit of introspection. Are you the leader you want to be? If not, what can you do to become that leader? Here’s something you can do to start your navel-gazing:
Take out a sheet of paper and create a table like the one above. Then think about bosses you’ve had. What did your good bosses do to make you feel they were good bosses? Write down those things in the table. Then do the same on the bad boss side, writing down the things your boss did that made you think they weren’t good at being a boss. Now, take a look at the lists. What do you do as a boss? Do you hit most of those good boss things? What about the bad boss side? Are there things on that list that you should eliminate from your own management practice?
Becoming an effective leader is not easy. However, honing your leadership skills will mean you are better able to engage your team to do great work, and you’re better able to work well under pressure. Take some leadership courses and read books. There is a wealth of great management training and information available to learn from. Start developing your leadership skills today to become the Good Boss you know you can be.