Leaders Under Pressure They often say ‘when the going gets tough the tough get going’. On his last day at British Airways CEO Rod Eddington said – ‘I’ve had a lot of luck at BA – all of it bad’. He had to deal with the impact of 9/11, sky high oil prices and industrial unrest but he just got on with it and successfully steered the airline through the storm.
Leaders Under Pressure
They often say ‘when the going gets tough the tough get going’. On his last day at British Airways CEO Rod Eddington said – ‘I’ve had a lot of luck at BA – all of it bad’. He had to deal with the impact of 9/11 sky high oil prices and industrial unrest but he just got on with it and successfully steered the airline through the storm.
It takes a special kind of resilient leader to weather storms like these in business and handle the personal stress it brings. Observe the serenity coolness and bravery of really good leaders under pressure.
Real heart pounding stress is leading a foot patrol of soldiers with the threat of serious injury or death around every corner. This puts stress in business into perspective but it is a real issue nonetheless. What can you do to manage it better and become more resilient?
It is still a taboo subject gradually becoming more accepted and treated more sympathetically. Although this only goes so far: these guys wanted the job and are well rewarded. A prominent recent case was Antonio Horta-Osorio who took leave of absence from Lloyds TSB Bank.
Different types of leadership stress
There is good stress. Some leaders actually need it adrenaline junkies –craving the urgency the buzz the chaos.
They may be hell to live with and this may be no way to run a business but they seek the thrill of living on the edge. If there isn’t a crisis they have to invent one they need the pressure to thrive.
For others this is bad stress – they want to keep order to control focus on detail as they rise in the organisation they are still doing the old job – not delegating managing not leading still doing not thinking strategically. They are the ones most likely to suffer the mental stress the cardiac arrest when the next crisis looms as inevitably it will.
Leadership stress management
How can you stay pressure positive and avoid burn out? First take time to think this through on your way up – focus on honing your personal leadership style reflect hard on how you did when under pressure how resilient were you? Get feedback from a coach or mentor and don’t wait for the crisis to hit.
An old colleague of mine perfected a really good technique: imagine you were given a gift of time you were given TWO free working days (not extra leave!) to do ONE thing which will have a major positive effect on your leadership in the future. Promise yourself to stay cool under pressure focus your time on strategic added value and build trust in your team to deliver. It might just save your life.