When Under Pressure
Stress affects behavior most often in a negative way. Though stress is not limited to one’s circumstances, leaders who carry responsibility not only for themselves but also for their teams certainly experience stress as they fulfill their role in the company. Leaders, especially new people managers, are under enormous personal and professional pressure to perform. Leaders need to be aware of the leadership mistakes to avoid under pressure.

Some of the psychological and emotional signs of stress include anxiety, irritability, feeling overwhelmed, constant worry, problems with concentration and, most worrisome, making bad decisions. What can leaders do to offset these reactions and avoid leadership mistakes when they are stressed?

Some Stress-related Leadership Mistakes
Here are six mistakes from our Action Learning Leadership Development programs that can be caused by stress. Of course, they can occur when you are not under extreme pressure but can be tendencies of your leadership style that are exaggerated when you are pushed to the limit.

  1. Acting like a Bully
    Is this your “go-to” reaction when you are stressed? You may be impatient with others and end up belittling and disrespecting them. Good leaders do just the opposite.Good leaders are committed to the individuals on their team. They invest time in getting to know them and support their success.
  2. Blaming Others
    When things go wrong, are you apt to point the finger of blame at others? Instead, the best leaders take responsibility for their actions and own up to their mistakes. This is the way to earn credibility and the trust of your followers.Employees respect leaders who are accountable for what they do wrong as well as for what they do right.
  3. Lack of Self-Awareness
    Have you reflected upon and honestly assessed both your strengths and your weaknesses as a leader? Effective leaders seek and accept candid feedback from others so they are aware of their shortcomings and can work diligently to improve themselves.
  4. Poor Listening
    It’s one thing to ask for feedback; it’s an entirely different thing to really hear it. Do you actively listen to your employees so you can understand their concerns and what you need to focus on? Learn how to pay close attention to what they say and confirm that you have correctly understood them.
  5. Being Indecisive
    Do you fear making the wrong decision to the point of making no decision at all? Skilled leaders recognize that decisions are not necessarily permanent and can be adjusted if needed. Good leaders are decisive and able to move forward with purpose as they communicate what needs to be done and why.
  6. Closed to Learning
    You may advocate for continuous learning, but do you practice it? Stress can keep you behaving in an unchanging loop. Keep open to coaching and learning from others.Recognize the value of different experiences and different perspectives in your intellectual growth. It will make you a better leader.

The Bottom Line
No leader can erase the stress from their corporate lives. But you can alleviate its deleterious effects on your behavior by paying attention to the kinds of mistakes pressure can foster. Are you doing all you can to design a better leadership path going forward?

To learn more about what’s behind the top leadership mistakes to avoid under pressure, download

Leadership Performance Pressure – The Science Behind Performance Expectations

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