6 Mistakes Leaders Under Pressure Make

The pressure to simultaneously produce and lead well. The pressure to serve your leader, your peers, and your teammates while still meeting the needs of your clients. The pressure to meet all those deadlines and fulfill all those demands in the midst of unforeseen challenges and unexpected changes.

The deadlines loom. The work piles up. The stress mounts.

Even the most calm and put-together leaders can morph into dictators under extreme pressure.  Here are six of the most common mistakes I see leaders under pressure make.

  1. Burdening the team. Many leaders under pressure stop filtering and begin burdening their team with a weight that isn’t theirs to bear: Drama at higher levels of leadership, speculation of what may happen if deadlines are not met, conflict with the boss. Burdening your team with information or stress that isn’t theirs to own might force heightened production in the short-term, but in the long-term it will just wear down and distract your team.
  2. Not allowing your teammates to help you through the challenge. Now, this might seem to contradict our first point, but what I’m talking about is when leaders hog all the pressure. In many instances, if we would approach the pressure with our team instead of trying to go it alone, it starts to feel less like pressure and more like a challenge we can strategically tackle together.
  3. Allow chaos to become the norm. There are a handful of jobs that by their very nature operate within a pressure cooker every day, all the time. Most of us do not consistently face that level of stress, but we can get into a habit of acting that way. Continually remind your team of why you’re doing what you’re doing, and explain to them how and why this current chaos is temporary and not the norm.
  4. Forget to focus on the vision. There is a purpose behind doing what you do. Don’t let yourself lose sight of that. Don’t let your team forget it.
  5. Living in the weeds. Any leader gets nervous when they’re stuck dwelling on details that their team is able to handle. Weeds demand tactical activities, and leaders must remain focused on the strategic vision.
  6. Stop caring for their people. Leadership is about people. You cannot be an effective leader if you don’t care about your people. You can be a decent – even a good – manager, but you’ll never be effective at leading if the people you lead don’t believe you care about them, and their families, and their growth, and their needs.

Are you currently feeling the pressure? Take a moment. Consider how your leadership style is impacting your team and your ability to influence them for the long-term.

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