Why Do The Best Leaders Downplay Pressure
All leaders feel pressure. You may experience it by just showing up at work, by sitting in a million meetings a day, by feeling that you’re constantly in problem-solving mode, by juggling the day-to-day demands of management. There is always something to fret or worry about, always something that is urgent. Unmanaged, pressure can leave you feeling ready to burst.
As an executive coach who works with prominent leaders in their respective industries, I see the pressure many people constantly live under—as well as its consequences. A few years ago, when one of my clients told me how the constant anxiety of his job was truly getting the best of him, I made a simple suggestion: if you cannot change the situation you must change your mindset about the situation.
Instead of looking at everything as a problem, I told him, look at situations as opportunities. Instead of taking everything so seriously, look for situations you can have some fun with. This mindset shift was a game changer for him.
When you cultivate the ability to downplay pressure, you reap significant benefits:
Lowered stress. When you feel pressured you feel trapped, and when you feel trapped you experience physical responses that are harmful to your body and mind. The best leaders understand that when they defuse pressure, they lower their own damaging stress responses and those of everyone on their team.
Improved focus. Sometimes when pressure is intense it can make you feel that you are literally spinning out of control. Great leaders know that by reducing external pressure they can cultivate a sense of internal calm. They teach their people to eliminate distractions and remove unnecessary diversions, helping to keep them calm, focused and productive.
Increased courage. When you’re in leadership, big decisions are an everyday part of your job—and big decisions require courage. Often it’s this ability to take a courageous risk that makes a difference between good enough and greatness and stress may make you more likely to shy away. Great leaders intuitively understand that when you downplay stress you can allow yourself to feel bold, which in turn helps you embolden their team to do great things.
We all experience pressure not only leaders but workers at every level. But if you can follow the example of great leaders and learn to downplay the pressure, you and your team can better cultivate the skills you need to be successful. It’s a best practice that all of us can use.
Lead from within: The greatest leaders downplay pressure to up play success.